Discussing The Daffodil In Honor Of St. David’s Day

March 1st is Saint David's Day, a Welsh holiday. What better way to commemorate the holiday than with a discussion of Wales' national flower, the daffodil?

daffodil

Photo: Muffet

Daffodils are strongly associated with Wales and have unique historical significance to the country. St. David's Day, a Welsh holiday celebrated on March 1st, is surrounded with daffodil imagery.

The Daffodil As A Welsh Symbol

March 1st is St. David’s Day, an homage to the patron saint of Wales. The Welsh emblems of the daffodil and the leek permeate this holiday. Today, it is the daffodil that is most often used as a St David’s Day buttonhole as it has the green stem and the white bulb of the leek but certainly looks and smells better.

As a symbol for Wales, the daffodil is incorporated in the imagery for the whole of Britain: A floral emblem for Britain is the daffodil entwined with the red and white English Tudor roses, the Scottish Thistle and the Irish Shamrock.

The Daffodil in History and The History Of the Daffodil

Here are some fun historical facts that are related to the daffodil:

  • Prince Charles of England is paid one daffodil annually as rent for the lands of the Islands of Scilly.
  • Daffodils were thought to have healing powers: they may have been first introduced to Britain by the Romans who thought their sap would heal wounds. Soldiers carried bulbs with them to eat if they were wounded because daffodils allegedly relieved pain. They taste dreadful which is why deer and other animals avoid them.
  • The genus name is Narcissus. In Greek mythology, Narcissus looked so long at his reflection in a pool that the Gods turned him into a flower destined to set nodding his head at his reflection.
Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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