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You Can Never Get Close Enough to a Daffodil!
Because it is such a beautiful flower!
Narcissus /nɑrˈsɪsəs/ is a genus of mainly hardy, predominantly spring-flowering, bulbous perennial plants in the Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis) family, subfamily Amaryllidoideae. Various common names including daffodil, daffadowndilly, narcissus (plural narcissi), jonquil and Lent (or Lenten) lily are used to describe all or some members of the genus.
The flowers of Narcissus are conspicuous and brightly coloured, with a basal segment of six petal-like tepals surmounted by a bowl-, cup- or trumpet-shaped corona, often referred to as the ‘trumpet’. The flowers are generally white or yellow (rarely green), extending to orange and pink in garden hybrid cultivars, and may be uniform in colour or have contrasting tepals and corona. Species of Narcissus were well known to the ancients both medicinally and botanically, although the genus was not formally described until Linnaeus published his Species Plantarum in 1753. The exact taxonomy remains relatively unsettled, but generally the genus is considered as having about ten sections with approximately 50 species. The number of defined species has ranged widely depending on the authority, with the exact number depending on how they are classified. The disparity is due to similarity between species and hybridization between them. The genus Narcissus appears to have arisen some time in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene eras, in the Iberian peninsula and adjacent areas of southwest Europe.
The exact origin of the name Narcissus is unknown, but it is often linked to a Greek word for intoxicated (narcotic) and the myth of the youth of that name who fell in love with his own reflection. The English word daffodil appears to be derived from asphodel, with which it was commonly compared.
The species are native to meadows and woods in southwest Europe and North Africa with a center of diversity in the Western Mediterranean, particularly the Iberian peninsula. However both wild and cultivated plants have naturalised widely, and were introduced into the Far East prior to the tenth century.
In general, narcissi tend to be long-lived bulbs which propagate by division, but the flowers are also insect pollinated. Known pests, diseases and disorders include viruses such as the Narcissus mosaic virus, fungi, the larvae of flies, mites and nematodes. Some Narcissus species have become extinct, while others are threatened by increasing urbanisation and tourism.
While historical accounts suggest narcissus have been cultivated from the earliest times, they became increasingly popular in Europe after the sixteenth century, and by the late nineteenth century were an important commercial crop centred primarily on the Netherlands. Nowadays narcissi are popular as cut flowers and as ornamental plants in private and public gardens. The long history of breeding narcissi has resulted in thousands of different cultivars. For horticultural purposes, narcissi are classified into twelve different divisions, covering a wide range of shapes and colours.
Like other members of their family, narcissi produce a number of different alkaloids, which while providing some protection for the plant, may be poisonous if accidentally ingested. However, this property has been exploited for medicinal use in traditional healing and has resulted in the production of galanthamine for the treatment of Alzheimer’s dementia.
Long celebrated in art and literature, the narcissi are associated with a number of themes in different cultures, ranging from death to good fortune, and as symbols of Spring. The daffodil is the national flower of Wales and the symbol of cancer charities in many countries. The appearance of the wild flowers in spring is associated with festivals in many places.
For more information please visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(plant)
By antonychammond on 2014-03-28 00:06:04