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Unusual Daffodil Stories

Stories about flowers always interest me and those about daffodils are particularly interesting. Did you know that if you keep chickens, you may not want to bring daffodils into the house. An old saying in Herfordshire U.K. tells us that if you bring daffodils inside when the hens are sitting, no chicks will be born alive. The opposite of this in Devon, says that the number of goslings that will be hatched and reared is the same as the number of daffodil flower stems that are brought into the house in the first bouquet of the year. In Europe, daffodil colonies often indicate an old religious site. Apparently the daffodils were planted by the monastery inhabitants and years after the demise of the buildings, the plants continue to grow.

The daffodil family or narcissus is poisonous and we’re told by knowledgeable bulb historians that mortally wounded Roman soldiers would eat a few bulbs. The bulb would work its narcotic wonder and the soldier would painlessly die. I have never tried to eat one but am told you do not have to worry about your children eating them as they are one of the vilest tasting bulbs around. This vile taste is nature’s way of protecting them from predators.

Now, a lesser-known epithet when applied to soldiery is to be called a daffodil. Apparently this means that they are nice to look at but yellow through and through. This term was apparently used in official British correspondence during the second world war and caused a bit of a diplomatic problem between the British and Australians. The British saying it was the Australian daffodils that lost Singapore and the Australians pointing out the real nature of the problem was British leadership.

Whatever the story, enjoy your bright yellow daffodils this spring.

About the Author: Doug Green, award winning garden author of 7 gardening books, answers questions in his free gardening newsletter at

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