The appeal of daffodils comes not only from their beauty but also from their hardiness and wide variety of bloom sizes and shapes. The flowers come in a range of bright, cheerful colors that often display contrasting orange, yellow, or apricot cups.
Narcissus, the beautiful
In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a hunter known for his beauty. According to the Greek poet and grammarian Joannes Tzetzes, he rejected all romantic advances, eventually falling in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. When he died, the flower that bears his name sprouted in his place.
(Narcissus falls in love with his reflection, by Caravaggio (1594-96) edited; (CC0 1.0)
Those beautiful blooms
The word daffodil is actually a nickname for the Narcissus (Greek narkissos). It refers to the numbing sensation produced by the plant's alkaloid content. All members of this plant family are poisonous, which benefits gardeners by making them repulsive to most garden critters and pests. The bulbs and leaves contain poisonous crystals that only certain insects can consume without dying. The bulbs are occasionally dug up by chipmunks, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, rabbits, and voles.
This flower is also called a jonquil. However, that term represents only one botanical group of daffodils, Narcissus jonquilla. The Royal Horticultural Society divides Narcissus into 13 divisions, ranging from the large showy cup varieties to trumpet varieties and wild variants.
Daffodils are an economical investment for your garden. They're relatively inexpensive, which allows you to plant a large quantity of them in fall and enjoy their showy spring display for years to come. These reliable, cold-hardy flowers can be used for landscaping your garden and cut for indoor use.
The daffodil is said to symbolize incomparable love. It not only has associations with the death of the self-loving Narcissus, but also as a popular Easter flower due to its annual spring resurrection.