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March 9th  2011    Tim Candler

    There are thirteen divisions in the family of Narcissus.  Jonquils have several flowers on  a stem and these flowers are often scented.  In Trumpet Daffodils, the middle part of the flower is longer than the petals.  And on it goes into an increase of  complexity that baffles a common or gardener like me.

    The Daffodils  that Ancient Greeks knew must have been more like Jonquils, because the smell of their Daffodils reminded Ancient Greeks of a scent assumed to lead the way to hell. 

     I always understood that Daffodils came first from Spain and Portugal.  Which suggests to me that in early times they travelled the Mediterranean as ornamentals because Daffodil bulbs are pretty much poisonous to people and rodents.

    There is however one kind of Daffodil which has an edible leaf.  And some part of that Daffodil's leaf, I have been told,  is a narcotic.

    I imagine it would be like risking a wild mushroom. And maybe that's why Narcissus himself became numb to the world and died, because one rumor has it that on the banks of the pool where his body was found Daffodils grew.

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