Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daffodils, buttercups, jonquils and narcissus

Daffodils form a group of large-flowered members of the genusNarcissus.

Most daffodils look yellow, but yellow-and-white,yellow-and-orange, white-and-orange, pink, and lime-green cultivarsalso exist. Daffodils grow perennially from bulbs. In temperateclimates they flower among the earliest blooms in spring: to thisextent daffodils both represent and herald spring. They often grow inlarge clusters, covering lawns and even entire hillsides with yellow.

Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus. Daffodil is the commonEnglish name for them all, and Narcissus is the Latin, botanical namefor them all. Some people refer to daffodils as "jonquils", from theSpanish name for the flower.

The name of the flower is derived from an earlier "affodell", avariant of asphodel. The reason for the introduction of the initial "d"is not known, though from at least the sixteenth century "DaffadownDilly" or "daffadowndilly" has appeared as a playful synonym of thename.

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