The meaning of the daffodil flower and origins of its name

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White narcissus flower

Daffodil is a trumpet-shaped flower that blooms quickly at the beginning of the spring. Daffodil is a bulbous plant and belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family. It is a flower with a tragic background story. Therefore, there are many interesting and beautiful facts about this plant. Let’s take a look at the daffodil meaning, origins, history, and other interesting facts.

Characteristics of daffodil

Before digging into the daffodil meaning and origins, let’s take a look at the characteristics of this flower. As we’ve already mentioned, daffodil belongs to the Amarilaceae family and there are around 50 species of this flower. Daffodil looks like a trumpet and has elongated leaves. It comes in a variety of colors such as yellow, white, pink, and orange.

Daffodil is native to the woods of southern Europe and North Africa. Usually, daffodils grow in groups but they can also appear individually. The blooming of a daffodil lasts only 20 days. Daffodils are a quite popular flower to grow in gardens. If you’d like to decorate your interior with this flower, make sure you don’t mix it with other flowers. As the stem of daffodil accelerates the death of other plants.

Yellow daffodil
Image via Kika

The care of the daffodil is simple. They require a warm climate and good sunlight. Also, you must ensure that your daffodils get a proper amount of water and nutrition for the soil. So, you will need to water it constantly and use some fertilizers such as Espoma Bulb-Tone.

Daffodil meaning

In the language of flowers, the daffodil is a symbol of selfishness. And most of us associate this flower with this negative meaning. But daffodil has other meanings as well. So, if you are doubting whether you should give daffodil to someone, let’s break some myths.

In modern days, the daffodil flower has more positive meanings. For example, it is one of the first flowers that bloom in the early spring. Some people say that daffodil is the herald of the spring. It announces to the other plants and flowers that the spring has arrived, and that’s why it’s shaped like a trumpet. So, a positive daffodil meaning is good news.

But if we return to the most popular daffodil meaning, we can find other aspects as well. For example, if you are giving a daffodil flower to a person you love, it could send a message that this person’s behavior is too selfish. Maybe you don’t want to end the relationship yet, so a daffodil could be an indication that you hope for a change.

Daffodil meaning
Image via Kika

But perhaps one of the saddest things that daffodil symbolize is broken love. Give this flower to a person as a farewell to a love that you never received from him or her. It is a very delicate way to seek closure to your pain. Others point out that giving a daffodil can also send a message that you think that a person is super beautiful and you are attracted to him or her.

Origins of the daffodil name

The scientific name of this flower is Narcissus, and it comes from the Latin language. The most popular explanation of the name’s origins is linked to the myth of Narcissus. But some researchers say that daffodils grew way before Greek civilization.

Apart from a daffodil, narcissus also has other names including daffadowndilly and jonquil. The name daffodil is a derivation of a Greek word ‘asphodelos’, which was given to a plant ‘asphodel’. Why the letter “d” was added to the beginning of the word is not known. The name ‘daffadown dilly’ has been used since the 16th century.

Types of daffodil colors and their meanings

Many people consider daffodils to be unlucky. They will not have these flowers in their home or give them to anyone. This belief comes from the image of the daffodil’s hanging head. In some cultures, people believe that daffodil brings tears and unhappiness. A white narcissus is a common flower used to decorate the graves and is considered as a symbol of bad luck.

White narcissus meaning
Image via hermgs

Daffodils come in various shapes and colors. Although the flower has a general meaning, each color may deliver a different message. As with almost any other flower, it’s impossible to assign a different meaning to each variety, so we will focus on the most popular colors.

Yellow daffodil meaning. This is the most popular of all daffodils. It is the trumpet that announces the arrival of spring. Yellow daffodil is the one that blooms right after the winter. It is a symbol of strength, overcoming the obstacles, and the arrival of success and wealth.

Violet daffodil meaning. This is the color that is linked to the Greek myth about Narcissus. Therefore, it means selfishness. From another point of view, a violet daffodil is a symbol of self-esteem. So, you can give it to a person who has self-doubts as a symbol of encouragement. It is also a perfect gift to those, who want to beat their bad habits.

White daffodil meaning. Generally, white is a color of purity. But when it comes to a daffodil it signifies a desire for a transformation. It leads a person away from the selfishness and vanity, to a more pure way of living.

Orange daffodil meaning. This is a color that symbolizes joy, vitality, and enthusiasm. Orange daffodils motivate a person to overcome negative energies. It expresses one need to be more positive and thankful for everything we got.

Daffodil meaning in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, Narcissus is a very beautiful young man. He is often portrayed as a cold man who rejects everyone who loves him. According to the legend, the gods punished him so that he fell in love with his image in the water. Narcissus didn’t do anything else and he stopped eating and drinking. Eventually, he died as he couldn’t stop looking at himself. Later, the daffodil bloomed in the same spot.

Blooming daffodil
Image via el_arboretum

There is another Greek myth about Narcissus. The god Zeus loved the company of beautiful nymphs, so he often visited them on earth. His wife Hera became suspicious of his frequent visits and decided to catch him with the nymphs. Echo wanted to safe the nymphs, so she started talking to Hera to give some time for Zeus and nymphs to getaway. But Hera realized what Echo was doing, and punished her. Since then, Echo could only repeat the last sentences of others.

Later, Echo fell in love with the Narcissus, who was in love with himself. As the Echo couldn’t speak, she tried to describe her love by the Narcissus’ own words. But Narcissus rejected her as he did with all the other women. With a broken heart, Echo begged the Aphrodite to end her suffering. Aphrodite fulfilled her prayers, but she loved her voice, so she left it to echo forever.

The story of Narcissus led to the term ‘narcissism’. People that have a ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ think they are super unique and have many abilities. They believe that they will achieve everything they want. Narcissistic people seek attention and are extremely sensitive to criticism as well as have an enormous fear of failure.

Cover image via hawthorn_belisama



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