When the daffodils are in full bloom we know that Spring is here. Apart from their sunny looks the great thing about daffodils is that they are toxic and so are one of the few plants that are ignored by deer. In my garden the problem is squirrels who root out every bulb that I plant apart from these yellow beauties. Apparently it was the Romans who were responsible for spreading the daffodil around their empire. I discovered this from an article by Melody Rose which I found on the Dave’s Garden website.
With the coming of March, that means daffodils for most of us in the temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. These sunny yellow flowers mean that spring is almost here.Blooming daffodils have dotted the roadsides here in west Kentucky for the last couple of weeks and now that March is finally here, we’re seeing many more of them. People assume that these pretty wildflowers that grace the fields and stream banks are simply natives, but the truth is, they’ve had a long and interesting journey.
The Roman army was responsible for introducing the daffodil to much of the known world. Native to southern Europe, Narcissus pseudonarcissus was believed to have medicinal properties and the Roman apothecaries and later the priests carried bulbs in their supplies and planted them wherever the army was stationed. Unfortunately, using the daffodil in medicine was not a good idea, as the plants are highly toxic. Even deer refuse to eat them, but early medical texts show recipes for treating anything from cuts and bruises to digestive issues using daffodils.
These hardy bulbs naturalized all over northern and western Europe and we even get the familiar name ‘daffodil’ from the Dutch. They called it ‘affo dyle‘, which means ‘that which comes early’ and from that, we ended up with daffodil, however when the flowers reached England, it was a perfect combination. The plants thrived and the population embraced them. The daffodil was even designated the floral emblem of Wales. Great drifts of these cheerful yellow blossoms graced the hedgerows, abbeys and fields all across Great Britain and it was only natural, when settlers journeyed abroad that they brought a familiar reminder of their past lives to their new lands. The bulbs were hardy and easy to transport over the ocean voyage, so a huge percentage of them survived and were planted all across the eastern seaboard and Appalachia.
See more at Dave’s Garden