Daffodil and Narcissus


Daffodil and Narcissus

***** Location: Europa, worldwide
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Plant


Daffodils, Narcissus and Jonquils come in many variations.

© http://www.sugarcraft.com/

As kigo, we have them in late winer and mid-spring.

Let us look at the winter-flowering varieties first.


kigo for Late Winter

suisen 水仙 narcissus, paper-white narcissus, paperwhites,

"Flower in the Snow" settchuuka 雪中花

Narcissus tarzetta, Narcissus tazetta, Chinese Daffodil

The native area is the Mediterranean. They came to Japan via China and have been enjoyed there during winter, as the second name above shows. In Japan it was known since the Muromachi period. It grows wild in the fields and should not be confused with the "trumpet narcissus", see below. It is an encourageing site to see these huge fields, mostly by the seaside, where the flowers swing in the cold winter wind. The flowers last for about two months.

Narcissus is very old in Europe and appears in the Greek Mythology about the Deity Narcissus, who gave it the name.

The flowers are almost white with a yellow trumpet. They start flowering at the end of December in some areas like Cape Echizen, Izu Peninsula and Awaji Island.

I remember the famous Narcissus Temple, Zuisen-Ji in Kamakura, where I would go in Winter to enjoy the flowers and the lovely smell in the temple garden, sipping some hot green tea ...

Gabi Greve

Temple Zuisenji Kamakura


kigo for Mid-Spring

Daffodil, rappa suisen ラッパスイセン
yellow daffodil, kizuisen 黄水仙
poet's Narcissus, "red-mouthed daffodil"

........... kuchibeni suisen 口紅水仙
... wase kuchibeni 早生口紅(わせくちべに)

daffodiru ダッフォディル daffodil

momoiro suisen 桃色水仙(ももいろすいせん)"peach-colored daffodil"

These varieties reached Japan during the Edo period and is cultivated in gardens and parks. It starts flowering around March. They have a strong sweet smell.

various types :

fusazaki suisen 房咲水仙 (ふさざきすいせん)
..... shina suisen シナ水仙(しなすいせん)


kigo for Late Summer

natsu suisen 夏水仙 (なつずいせん) summer narcissus
Lycoris squamigera


The daffodil was adopted in the 20th Century as the national flower of Wales, because (in legend though not invariably in fact) it begins to bloom on Saint David's Day, March 1. In Wales to this day, school children wear daffodils to celebrate the first day of March.

The Greeks today call N. tazetta Dakrakia, "Little Tear Drops".

The God Narcissus loved his own reflection in the water, (which he mistook for female), then turned into the flower baring his name.

Read all about the God Narcissus and more in our library:
Mythology of the Daffodil, by Paghat

Gabi Greve


One of the best known poems about daffodils is that by William Wordsworth, which most school children in the United Kingdom and in Ireland used to learn by heart (and presumably still do). It speaks about the vast expanses which in these countries may be filled with a mass of daffodil bloom. Readers from other countries sometimes believe that Wordsworth used poetic licence when writing the poem -- this decidedly is not so!

Isabelle Prondzynski

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

[Poem : http://homepages.tesco.net/~andy.oddjob/word10.htm]


Narcissus bulbocodium subsp. bulbicodium

occurs naturally in Spain, Portugal, south-west France and Africa. It is commonly known as the hoop-petticoat daffodil because of the shape of its flowers - golden yellow conical trumpets, with narrow, pointed petals. Despite its Mediterranean origins, it is hardy in Britain and makes an excellent species to naturalise in lawns where the soil is moist.
Height: 15cm (6in).

(C) The Travelling Naturalist

Worldwide use


Påskelilje (”Easter lily”), wild daffodil
Narcissus pseudonarcissus

It blooms in spring around Easter when the sun has gained power enough to let us feel that NOW the winter is gone. When Easter fall early we might get days and night with skight frost, though. The name says it all. Its sybolism is closely related to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We have a lot of Easter traditions (mainly the worldly survive). One of them is that people tend to get their gardens ready after winter. Others are massive lunches with lots of food and drink.

a sense of returning …
the holy week starts with
one sunlit dandelion

en fornemmelse af hjemkomst …
den stille uge begynder med
én påskelilje i solskin

- Shared by Johannes S. H. Bjerg
Joys of Japan, 2012



Osterglocken, "Easter Bells" .



Daffodils are immensely popular in Ireland, and most spring gardens have a good showing of them. They are the most popular flowers for Easter church decorations. Big estates boast vast expanses of daffodils planted years or many decades ago, and left to propagate in meadow grassland, where they usually do very well.

The idea is that the approach to the big house should be swimming in nodding yellow blooms, and that the owners may look out from their fireside seats into a golden vista -- in either case, the effect is stunning, and even though it repeats itself year by year, it is equally enjoyed each time.

In the most recent decade or two, Irish road builders have played to the people's love of the flower by planting it generously into the central strip between two sides of dual cariageways and motorways, and on the approach roadto Dublin Airport, so that even the worst traffic jam can become a moment to delight in the view or to shed a tear about one's imminent departure from a place of such beauty.

Isabelle Prondzynski


The Daffodil garden, near Coleraine was created by the university of Ulster in conjunction with NI Daffodil Growers to provide a permanent display of Irish bred flowers for the enjoyment of the university and the community. This garden commemorates notably the work of Guy Wilson of Broughshane who was internationally acclaimed as one of the leading daffodil breeders.

(© Photo - Don Anderson)

Things found on the way


In Ireland, the daffodil has become the emblem of the Irish Cancer Society, which every year sells fresh and paper daffodil flowers to raise funds for cancer research and care. It is a well supported charity, and the paper flowers are often kept by supporters for many months after the actual day. In 2006, Daffodill Day takes place on Friday 24 March.
This is what the Irish Cancer Society writes at http://www.cancer.ie :

Friday March 24th is Daffodil Day, the main fundraising event of the Irish Cancer Society. The money raised goes directly to ensuring that those affected by cancer, and their families receive expert nursing care free of charge. You can help by volunteering a day of your time to help sell daffodils on Daffodil Day.

St Patrick’s Festival is proud to partner with the Irish Cancer Society’s Daffodil Day 2006. Fresh daffodils will be on sale in Merrion Square, Dublin 2, during the Festival's " Big Day Out" on Sunday 19th March from 12 midday to 6pm. St Patrick's Festival has also kindly agreed to donate 15% of the proceeds from the sale of its official merchandise during the Festival.

© www.cancer.ie


'Nurse' Lorna O'Connor at the launch of the Irish Cancer Society's Daffodil Day Campaign in the Warwick Hotel, Galway. Daffodil Day marks the main fundraising event of the Irish Cancer Society with money raised going directly to ensuring that those affected by cancer, and their families, receive expert nursing care free of charge.

15 March 2003

Photo by Reg Gordon (Galway Independent)


Photographer John P Clare writes that the daffodil reminds him of the colours of the Irish flag -- green, white and orange.
Look at some stunning photos.



初雪や 水仙の葉の たわむ迄
hatsu-yuki ya suisen no ha no tawamu made

The first snow,
Just enough to bend
The leaves of the daffodils.

Tr. Eri Takase

Written in 貞亨3年12月8日, Basho age 43.

On that day he also wrote about the snow on his hut:

. hatsu yuki ya saiwai an ni makari aru .
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

The kigo here is "first snow".
leaves of the daffodils are not seasonal.


Four daffodil haiku by Issa, translated by David Lanoue

ami no me ni suisen no hana saki ni keri

in the meshes
of the net daffodils
in bloom

kubo mura wa shôben goya mo suisen zo

low-lying village--
at the outhouse, too

suisen ya kaki ni kaikomu sumida-gawa

grow into the fence...
Sumida River

suisen ya kaki ni yuikomu tsukuba yama

affodils wreathing
into the fence...
Mount Tsukuba

Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶


airport road
with blooming daffodils --
a little tear

Isabelle Prondzynski (Ireland, 2006)


daffodils are one of the most joyful harbingers of spring. so yellow against winter's gloom and lack of color.

we are, blissfully, in the fifth week of daffodils here in texas.

if you plant carefully, you can have daffodils for twelve weeks.

and i plant carefully.

my moon garden was glorious in the fullmoonlight last night. mostly white pansies, but a white cyclamen, a white petunia that somehow overwintered, two ornamental cabbages with pale yellow flowers blooming their hearts out and some white daffodils.

heaven on earth.
and twelve months of white flowers to come.

susan delphine delaney, plano, texas, 2006


Three haiku by Zhanna P. Rader

On the window sill,
spilling sun.

(Brussels Sprouts, v.6, Issue 1, January, 1989)

Daffodils blooming. . .
the oaks still holding
to their last-year leaves.

(New Cicada, vol. 7, #1, Summer 1990)

Long gone the house
where the old lady lived. . .
but her daffodils!

(New Cicada, vol. 5, #2, Winter 1988)

Zhanna P. Rader


full of vigour and vitality
gently sway in the breeze

Kala Ramesh, India


a loving couple
during all seasons
spring in the air

© Photo Gabi Greve
Click on the photo to read about the Japanese Wayside Gods (Doosojin 道祖神).

Stone Buddhas and Haiku, by Gabi Greve

Related words

***** furiijia フリージア freesia, Freesie, Freesien

... koosesturan 香雪蘭(こうせつらん)"fragrant snow orchid"
asagizuisen、浅黄水仙(あさぎずいせん)"light yellow narcissus"

kigo for late spring
They come in various colors, but the yellow one's are the most fragrant.

The genus was named in honor of Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese (1795–1876), German physician.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

spring fractals ~
the delicate spirals
of freesia

- Shared by Elaine Andre
Joys of Japan, March 2012


sunoofureeku スノーフレーク "snowflake"
suzuran zuisen 鈴蘭水仙(すずらんずいせん)
oomatsu yukisoo 大松雪草(おおまつゆきそう)
Leucojum aestivum




Unknown said...

Wayside Gods (Doosojin 道祖神).

thank you for sharing.


Anonymous said...

scattered by the wind
red skies at dusk

I associate daffodils with the flowers given to Canada every year as thanks from Holland/The Netherlands for our support during WW2. Hence the red skies at dusk.
 

Dusk to me is an ending of light, bringing on the darkness.

There is a flash or ribbon of colour (on a clear night) before the sun twinkles out of sight.
This brings to mind medals, ribbons of valour, lines of blood (father to son giving service to their country), thin lines between countries, borders and just how fragile it all is.

Trish Shields


Anonymous said...

daffodil --
the very first
of thousands

Have a look at the photo, here :


Beautiful collection of new daffodil photos here:


janice | Sharing the Journey said...

I found this wonderful, informative post through google. On my own site this last few weeks there have been photos of daffodils, a reference to 'dakrakia' (little tears), and a couple of posts about haiku; one mentioned the use of daffodils as kigo in the western hemisphere.

When I lived in a seaside town in Greece, a place that represents intense memories of great joy and heartache for me, the 'dakrakia' always came out in late winter, when there still seemed no hope of spring. They always seemed to last until spring - and often, Easter - had finally arrived.

Here's a wee poem from my life-sketch notebook and the bouquet that inspired it: I'm glad I found your post. Even though this is not a haiku, mainly because there is so much accidental personal symbolism in it (the Greek word 'anemone' gives us the English 'forget-me-nots) only a person aware of kireji would understand the juxtaposition of what isn't there with what used to be there and of two heart seasons.

yellow jonquil scent
pink tulips forget-me-nots ~
no dakrakia

This spring bouquet, bought for Easter, filled my home with such cheerfulness and scent and underlined the happiness of my new life with my husband and children. The scent of jonquils was just enough to remind me of 'dakrakia', but the life in those juxtaposed flowers left no room for sad memories to creep into the spaces and wrap itself around my joy.

There's a photo at http://sharingthejourney.co.uk/poetry/easter-flowers-greek-feasts-seaside-candles-and-poetry/)

Narayanan Raghunathan said...

a breeze breezes
through the daffodil field
to reach the clouds

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

sono nioi momo yori shiroshi suisenka

this fragrance
whiter than the peach
is the daffodil

For 太田白雪 Ota Hakusetsu from Mikawa.

Basho also wrote this poem in the 10th lunar month of 1691.
He had visited the Hakusetsu family and his two sons, giving the boys a special haikai name

the elder brother 重英, age 14, was named Toosen 桃先 Tosen,
the younger brother 孝知, age 11, was named Toogoo 桃後 Togo.

Gabi Greve said...

furiijia takusan saite oya kookoo

so many
freesias have bloomed -
filial piety

Katoo Michiru 加藤ミチル Kato Michiru

filial piety .

Gabi Greve said...

suisen ya samuki miyako no koko kashiko

In the chilly capital,
Some here, some there.

Yosda Buson
trans. Sawa & Shiffert

John said...

These are beautiful daffodils!