Daffodils form a group of large-flowered members of the genus Narcissus. Most daffodils look yellow, but yellow-and-white, yellow-and-orange, white-and-orange, pink, and lime-green cultivars also exist. Daffodils grow perennially from bulbs. In temperate climates they flower among the earliest blooms in spring: to this extent daffodils both represent and herald spring. They often grow in large clusters, covering lawns and even entire hillsides with yellow.
All daffodils have a central trumpet-shaped corona surrounded by a ring of petals. The traditional daffodil has a golden yellow color all over, but the corona may often feature a contrasting color. Breeders have developed some daffodils with a double or triple row of petals, making them resemble a small golden ball. Other cultivars have frilled petals, or an elongated or compressed central corona.
All daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus. Daffodil is the common English name for them all, and Narcissus is the Latin, botanical name for them all. Some people refer to daffodils as "jonquils", from the Spanish name for the flower, although properly this name belongs only to hybrids of Narcissus jonquilla.
The daffodil serves the national flower of Wales. One species, Narcissus obvallaris, grows only in a small area around Tenby.
In the language of flowers, daffodils signify chivalry and/or respect.
The name of the flower is derived from an earlier "affodell", a variant of asphodel. The reason for the introduction of the initial "d" is not known, though from at least the sixteenth century "Daffadown Dilly" or "daffadowndilly" has appeared as a playful synonym of the name.
William Wordsworth's short poem "I wandered lonely as a cloud" has often become linked in the popular mind with the daffodils which form its main image.
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