Look at that sweet, innocent blossom—how could it possibly do any harm? Don't be fooled: all members of the narcissus family, such as daffodils and jonquils, are poisonous, but perhaps their most devious weapon is a toxic sap that seeps out of their cut stems, killing any other flowers in the vase. It's like a floral version of Heathers.
All hope is not lost, however. If you're dead set on incorporating daffodils or jonquils into a larger arrangement, simply cut their stems at an angle and leave them in a vase of cool water overnight. Most of the sap will seep out, making them safe to mix with other flowers. This and other daffodil care tips are from Martha Stewart, who plants 15,000-20,000 daffodil bulbs per year. The mind reels.
While we're on the subject of of the glorious, murderous narcissus, here are a few of my favorite tidbits:
- Garden Design Magazine's article "Delightful Daffodils" featured Howard Sooley's wonderful photos (including the one above) of unusual daffodils at England's Royal Horticulture Society Daffodil Show.
- Microscopy-UK's "A Close-Up View of the Daffodil" by Brian Johnston combines poetry, science, and glowing close-up photos of Narcissus pseudonarcissus.
- Kite aerial photography was used to capture images of daffodil fields in Washington for the project First Daffodils 2012.
- Cicely Mary Barker painted The Daffodil Fairy and the Jonquil Fairy in the 1920s, and they kill me. Prints would be so cute in a little girl's room.