Daffodils are the March birth flower, and I think it is the perfect choice for March. With the arrival of March comes spring, a time that all gardeners adore. The Daffodil, with its cheerful splash of yellow color signals the end of winter cold and the return of warmer days. That is just one reason I think that they make the perfect March birth flower, along with the Jonquil.
In most parts of the country, like right here in San Marcos, that are blessed with a moderate climate, daffodils are among the first flowers to bust into bloom every spring, making them a terrific symbol of freshness, renewal, and rebirth. They are one of spring’s most recognizable flowers, known for their bright yellow and white petals.
All have the same basic flower structure. Each bloom has six outer petal-like segments that surround, and are held at right angles to, a central corona (also called the trumpet or cup, depending on its length). Daffodils range in size from 5-inch blooms on 2-foot stems to half-inch flowers on 2-inch stems and have a sweet fragrance.
In the language of flowers, daffodils symbolize friendship, chivalry, respect, modesty, rebirth and faithfulness. Apparently, the daffodil was originally called “affodell,” a variant of asphodel. No one really knows why the letter “d” was added to the front of the name, but from at least the 1500s the flowers have been playfully known in literature as “Daffadown Dilly” or “daffadowndilly.”
Although daffodils were a favorite of the ancient Greeks and Romans, by around 1600 they had fallen out of favor and essentially been forgotten. But that changed in 1629 when a group of English gardeners championed the daffodil and it regained its popularity among plant and flower lovers.
The most common color of daffodil is yellow, but as I mentioned, you can also find flower varieties accented with white, orange, pink or even lime green. During Victorian times when it was taboo for someone to put their romantic feelings into actual words, daffodils symbolized happiness and friendship.
Daffodils were first brought to Britain, and from there to the rest of the world, by the Romans who thought that the sap from daffodils had varied and mystical healing powers. Actually, the sap contains crystals that can irritate the skin. Some Roman soldiers even carried bouquets of poisonous daffodils with them into battle, to help them die more quickly if they suffered the misfortune of being mortally wounded.
A Greek scholar named Theophrastus first wrote about daffodils around 300 BC in his Enquiry into Plants, which became an important influence on medieval science. It is his writings that made their way to Britten, along with the daffodil itself, that ensured the beautiful spring flower would come to be known and loved all over the world. Because the daffodil is one of the first flowers of spring, it is also symbolic of hope. If your birthday falls in March, hopefully someone will remember you and send a happy bouquet of bright spring daffodils your way.
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