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March Flower Lore: Daffodils

Learn all about the origin, legends, and lore of the daffodil, the official flower for March.

Flowers, perhaps more than any other part of the natural world, are fascinating because of the many layers of meaning people have shrouded them in throughout history.

There is a whole sub-category of etiquette surrounding flowers, and which are appropriate to give at what times, and to whom. The unending rules surrounding something so simple as a flower can be dizzying.

Another aspect of flower lore concerns the designated flowers for each month of the year. The official flower for March is the daffodil and it’s smaller European-native sibling, the jonquil.

Daffodil Characteristics and Origin

Daffodils feature a bell-shaped center surrounded by six large petals. Native to the Mediterranean region, as well as parts of Asia, daffodils are among the earliest flowers to bloom each year, and often seen as harbingers of spring.

Daffodils take their name from the Greek word asphodel, meaning “kings spear.” This is somewhat confused by the fact that there is already a genus of plants that goes by the name asphodel. Jonquils, on the other hand, borrow their name from the Latin word for rush, a type of grass. Both plants are species of narcissus, named for the unfortunate youth of Greek legend who drowned while admiring his own reflection.

Daffodils: Symbols of Rebirth

Because they are one of the first flowers to return at the start of spring, daffodils are said to represent rebirth and new beginnings. Other popular meanings include faithfulness and honesty, because they never fail to return, year after year, even after the harshest of winters.

Traditionally, herbalists used daffodils as a cleansing agent, to remove impurities from the body. They can be used to induce vomiting, as well as to clean wounds, soothe burns, and ease joint or muscle pain. Modern medicine has also found the plant useful. Galantamine, a drug used to combat Alzheimer’s disease, is produced by daffodils.

Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including MTV.com. She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.

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Bonnie

Up here in the Blue Ridge mountains of western NC, the locals refer to daffodils as “Easter lilies” because that’s about when they bloom. No, they don’t mean the white trumpet shaped Asiatic lilies we knew everywhere else, they mean daffodils!

Marilyn

I love daffodils. I was born in March. Never knowing that March flower was
My favorite flower. I planted some. by my sons memorial one year one flower
came up the next two came up. Every
year after that 3 daffodils were there

Cyndi

I love both flowers! I live in the desert near Palm Springs. How can I get those to grow here?

Lucy

Living in Southern Ontario-probably wont see any daffodils for at least another 6 wks-if not longer. Deep snow all around the house & still snowing today. Not enough warmth on sunny days to melt anything yet….. Have to go buy some potted daffs at the nursery to brighten up the inside. Looking forward to seeing those 1st bulbs popping thru.

Carolyn

I have daffodils all around my yard. Thank you for the information.

Eve

Kim, Thanks I am hopeing to get started cleaning the yd tomorrow. Spring has sprung,LOL

joesee

Hey I’m going on a cruise on the week of the 25 to the 30th what will the weather be like on the 25th or 24th

Jaime McLeod

joesee, Where is the cruise? We only cover the U.S. and Canada.

Kim

Eve, You can clean off your metal arch. In our midwest region, the morning glory grows as an annual and will come back from the seeds that fell to the ground in the fall. It will bloom on the new growth.

Eve

I do mean plants.

Eve

I to love the Daffodils. But have a question about Morning Glories. I had some come up last yr across my metal arch. Now I need to know if I should cut down the old vines or leave them for this yrs pants?

Carolyn Wallace

I always cut all the old growth off before any new growth appears from new plants. I love morning glories, especially large white blooms. Beautiful early morning and late afternoon.

Brenda

One of my favorite flowers! I love the pretty yellow bulbs on them.. I have daffodils getting ready to bloom right now in my front yard. My yard knows its spring now. Beautiful March weather! Can’t wait for my tulips and marigoles to come back. Wont be long!

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