Daffodil Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Along with the primrose, the daffodil is one of the first flowers to appear in spring, and has a lot of symbolism attached to it. It’s the birth flower of March, and is given as a gift on a 10th wedding anniversary. 

You may be familiar with how the daffodil heralds the arrival of spring, and how it’s tied to rebirth, and new beginnings after the hardship of winter. 

It’s a sign of bouncing back from difficult times, and being able to look forward to the future and the joy it may bring. 

But there’s a little more to this unassuming, beautiful flower.

What does Daffodil Mean?

The daffodil falls under the narcissus genus, a large family of plants which are part of the amaryllis family

It’s hard to say where the name Narcissus came from originally, but it’s related to the word narcotic, which derives from the Ancient Greek word that translates to “to make numb”.

It’s also tied to the story of the hunter Narcissus, from Greek Mythology.

Narcissus became fixated with his own image in a pool of water, and never left it. When he died, a daffodil grew in his place. This is where the term narcissism comes from.  

What do Daffodils Signify?

Daffodils represent renewal, inspiration, memory, forgiveness, and obsession. They also embody a heightened sense of awareness, and introspection.

Differently colored daffodils have slightly different meanings, and those are continued below. 

What does a Yellow Daffodil Signify?

One of the more classic colors you can find in a daffodil (see also 9 Best Squirrel Resistant Flowers You Can Grow To Protect Your Garden), a yellow daffodil signifies spring’s arrival, and rebirth.

It also represents resilience, overcoming hardship, and the relief after a period of stress.

What does a Pink Daffodil Represent?

Pink or peach-toned daffodils signify a gentle happiness, and the tender affection you hold for someone in your life.

What does a Purple Daffodil Mean?

Daffodils don’t come naturally in purple hues (see also Daffodil Grow Guide), so if you see one, it’s likely that the flower has been sprayed purple.
Purple daffodils represent self-contemplation to the point of obsession, or selfishness, linking back to the story of Narcissus.

They also symbolize falsehood, or misguided ideas.

What does a White Daffodil Represent?

White daffodils stand for innocence and purity. They can also represent a promise to be better, to do better, to be the best version of yourself because of someone else. 

What does an Orange Daffodil Symbolize?

Orange daffodils represent enthusiasm, the joy that life brings, and a renewed vitality. It’s also a color used to cheer someone up, to remind them that you have their back through both the good times and the bad. 

What does a White and Yellow Daffodil Represent?

A white and yellow daffodil symbolizes new beginnings, and looking towards the future with hope rather than fear. 

It’s a promise to get the best out of the year stretching before you, and to be kind and honest towards yourself and others. 

What is the Cultural Significance behind the Daffodil?

Like many flowers, the cultural significance of the daffodil varies depending on the part of the world you’re looking at.

In China, daffodils spring into life around Chinese New Year, and are said to bring good luck and prosperity for the whole year. 

In Japan, the daffodil stands for joy and mirth, of the light-hearted times ahead. 

In medieval Europe, a drooping daffodil was said to promise the impending death of whoever saw it, similar to seeing a doppelgänger of yourself. It’s probably worth mentioning that this omen only applies when your gaze causes the flower to droop. 

In France, the daffodil symbolizes hope, and is used as the symbol of cancer charities all over the world for the same reason. 

To the Welsh people, the daffodil is the national flower, and a symbol of Wales.

It’s also traditionally worn on the day people celebrate the patron saint of Wales, St. David, on the 1st March. There’s a legend that suggests that someone who finds the first daffodil of the year will be blessed with gold. 

What does a Daffodil Tattoo Mean?

Daffodil tattoos are especially unusual and beautiful. As you know, there are many layers to the meaning behind this striking bloom, and has inspired people for centuries. 

It symbolizes new beginnings, hope for what the future might hold, and trust, which is especially symbolic if the tattoo is in memory of someone.

The simplicity of the daffodil radiates energy, signifies the wealth friendship adds to your life, and the importance of being true to yourself and others.

When Should You Give Someone a Daffodil?  

Daffodils are a great choice of flower if a relationship you have with someone has been failing, or it has fizzled out.

The beauty of the daffodil is uplifting, which makes it easier to start a conversation with this person, and where you want to be in the future with them. 

Daffodils also symbolize an all-consuming love, thanks to Narcissus. Though this is rarely the surface meaning of a daffodil gift, it’s not an improbable one. 

It’s also a wonderfully energizing bloom, which makes it an especially careful choice for someone who is ill, or isn’t at their best emotionally. It’s a sign of hope, and of tenderness and affection.

Daffodils are at their best in the spring, though you can get some autumn-blooming types, so they’re appropriate for celebrations and reminders of joy all year round. 

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