1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Daffodil

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DAFFODIL, the common name of a group of plants of the genus Narcissus, and natural order Amaryllidaceae. (See generally under Narcissus.) The common daffodil, N. Pseudo-narcissus, is common in woods and thickets in most parts of the N. of Europe, but is rare in Scotland. Its leaves are five or six in number, are about a foot in length and an inch in breadth, and have a blunt keel and flat edges. The stem is about 18 in. long, and the spathe single-flowered. The flowers are large, yellow, scented and a little drooping, with a corolla deeply cleft into six lobes, and a central bell-shaped nectary, which is crisped at the margin. They appear early in the year, or, as Shakespeare says, “come before the swallow dares, and take the winds of March with beauty.” The stamens are shorter than the cup, the anthers oblong and converging; the ovary is globose, and has three furrows; the seeds are roundish and black. Many new varieties of the flower have recently been cultivated in gardens. The bulbs are large and orbicular, and have a blackish coat; they, as well as the flowers, are reputed to be emetic in properties. The Peruvian daffodil and the sea daffodil are species. of the genus Ismene. (For derivation see Asphodel.)