Monday, March 1, 2010

Flower Of The Month For March ...The Daffodil



March's Flower...the Daffodil


I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD
by
William Wordsworth

"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze..."

March's Flower, the Daffodil, is botanically named narcissus. Some people call them “jonquils,” but, technically, jonquil refers to only one specific type of daffodil, not the whole family. They come in three size groups (Miniatures; Standards; and Intermediates which are in-between Standards and Miniatures), and six colors: white, yellow, orange, pink, red, and, green. Six outer petals surround a cup creating the trumpet-style look of this flower. Some stems produce one flower; others produce clusters. The outer petals are yellow or white; cups may be white, yellow, orange or salmon, and some have an orange edge.

All Narcissus varieties contain the alkaloid poison
lycorine, mostly in the bulb but also in the leaves. In kampo (traditional Japanese medicine), wounds were treated with narcissus root and wheat flour paste. The Roman physician Aulus Cornelius Celsus listed narcissus root in De Medicina among medical herbs, described as emollient, erodent, and "powerful to disperse whatever has collected in any part of the body". Roman soldiers would carry several bulbs with them and if mortally wounded, they'd chow down on the bulbs. The bulb would work its narcotic wonder and the soldier would painlessly die.

Some of the folk lore and legends associated with the Daffodil:

*Plant lore tells us that daffodils bring good fortune to the person who avoids trampling on them.

*The daffodil is a symbol of rebirth, Spring, and Easter.

*Because of its association with the God, Narcissus, the daffodil symbolizes unrequited love, vanity and excessive self-love. The center of the daffodil cup is said to contain the tears of Narcissus.

*Never give a single daffodil, as bringing a single daffodil into the house will bring misfortune.

*As a spring flower that blossoms when the sun begins to shine, it expresses the joy one has when in the presence of one’s partner, signifying love, regard, and respect.

*Chinese lore says that the daffodil flower brings good luck for the next twelve months if forced to bloom during the New Year.

*The narcissus was also used as a ritualistic flower of death by the Egyptians. When Pharaohs were buried the skins of daffodil bulbs were placed over the eyes, nose, and mouth of the mummy.

*The daffodil was accepted by the Druids as their national flower, symbolizing purity.

*In medieval Europe, it was believed that if a daffodil drooped when you looked at it, it was an omen of death.