Narcissus (pronounced /nɑrˈsɪsəs/) is the botanic name for a genus of mainly hardy, mostly spring-flowering, bulbs in theAmaryllis family native to Europe, North Africa and Asia . There are also several Narcissus species that bloom in the autumn. Though Hortus Third cites 26 wild species, Daffodils for North American Gardens cites between 50 and 100 including species variants and wild hybrids. Through taxonomic and genetic research, it is speculated that over time this number will probably continue to be refined.Daffodil is a common English name, sometimes used now for all varieties, and is the chief common name of horticultural prevalence used by the American Daffodil Society. The range of forms in cultivation has been heavily modified and extended, with new variations available from specialists almost every year
Decription Of The Flower[edit | edit source]
All Narcissus species have a central trumpet-, bowl-, or disc-shaped corona surrounded by a ring of six floral leaves called the perianth which is united into a tube at the forward edge of the 3-locular ovary . The seeds are black, round and swollen with hard coat. The three outer segments are sepals , and the three inner segments are petals . Though the traditional daffodil of folklore, poetry, and field may have a yellow to golden-yellow color all over, both in the wild species and due to breeding, the perianth and corona may be variously colored. Breeders have developed some daffodils with double, triple, or ambiguously multiple rows and layers of segments, and several wild species also have known double variants.
Color range and classification[edit | edit source]
Daffodils may be self-colored—i.e., both perianth and corona identical in color and shade—or the colors between the perianth and corona may differ widely. Some perianths and some coronas also may contain more than one color or shade. Prevalent colors are all shades and tones of yellow, white, orange, pink, red and green. Pinks vary from apricot to rose in shades from pale to deep, and some more recent cultivars have hints of lavender or lilac. Reds vary from orange-red to salmon red to near scarlet. Pink, red, orange and green tones are mainly confined to the corona. However, breeders are currently working against the genera's natural pigmentation and genetic barriers to create cultivars in which pink, rose, red, orange and green tones suffuse or "bleed" from the more highly colored coronas onto the perianth segments of white or yellow. There are an increasing number of commercially available varieties which display this enhanced coloration.
- ADS Color Classification:
- W = White or whitish
- G = Green
- Y = Yellow
- P = Pink
- O = Orange
- R = Red
The flower's two regions are assigned color somewhat differently. The perianth colors are assigned from (in the case of multiple colors) the outer edge of the segment inward to the base of the corona. The corona colors are assigned from the base of the corona outward to the rim. Thus, Actaea, a Poeticus (Division 9) Daffodil pictured below, is officially classified as 9 W-GYR, while Accent, a Large Cup (Division 2) Daffodil possessing a white perianth and a pink corona, is officially classified as 2 W-P.
Cultural importance[edit | edit source]
The Narcissus flower is perceived quite differently in the east than in the west. Whereas in the west, the Narcissus flower is seen as a symbol of vanity, in China, the same flower is seen as a symbol of wealth and good fortune. The ancient Greeks believed this plant originated from the vain youth, Naricssus. He died after becoming so obsessed with his reflection in a pool he could not leave. The Greeks say that the gods turned his remains into the Narcissus flower. In ancient China, there is a legend about a poor but good man, who was brought many cups of gold and wealth by this flower. Since the flower blooms in early spring, it has also become a symbol of Chinese New Year. Narcissus bulb carving and cultivation is even an art akin to Japanese Bonsai. If your Narcissus blooms on Chinese New Years, it is said to bring you extra wealth and good fortune throughout the year. On top of that, it has one of the sweetest fragrances of any flower. So it is highly revered in Chinese culture.
In Hawaii, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii sponsors a Chinese cultural festival, called the Narcissus Festival, culminating with a beauty pageant whose winner is called the Narcissus Queen.
The daffodil is the national flower of Wale. One species, Narcissus obvallaris grows only in a small area around Tenby. In Wales it is traditional to wear a daffodil or a leek on Saint David's Day (March 1). This has led to suggestions that the word "daffodil" may have been influenced by the name "Dafydd," a Welsh form of "David" However, in Welsh, the daffodil is known as Cenhinen Bedr (Peter's Leek).