The Narcissus: Dainty, Delightful & Full of Toxic Goo

The Narcissus: Dainty, Delightful & Full of Toxic Goo

Tess Wilson
Apr 9, 2012

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:

(Image by Howard Sooley for Garden Design Magazine.)

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