Not known to many people just like birth stone every month has a birth flower, which signifies the people born in that month. The December birth flower is Narcissus. Narcissus, also known as the daffodil, is a bulbous plant with tall linear leaves with bright yellow or white flowers. It is being said that this flower symbolizes sweetness and is thought to be native to the Mediterranean world with a variety of different species across Asia.
In Greek mythology the story of Narcissus gives us the explanation of the origin of the modern English word “narcissism”. The story goes like this- Narkissos was a young hunter who was well known for his attractiveness. Goddess Nemesis noticed how proud Narcissus was of the things he did for those who adored him. So she lured Narcissus to a pool. The reflection of his beauty was just too much for him to take and Narcissus could not pull himself away from the reflection. In fact while making an attempt to get a better look at himself he fell in and drowned. Hence the word narcissism has come to define as fixation with oneself. Another Greek myth tells of Persephone being led to her death by the god Hades while picking a narcissus flower.
The flower has come to symbolise vanity in the West and of wealth and good fortune in the East. It is the national flower of the Kurdish culture and is the symbol of Newroz, or New Year in the middle-east. It is literally the most popular flower in Germany. An ancient Chinese legend states a poor man with a good heart was blessed with gold and wealth as a result of this flower. It has come to symbolize Chinese New Year as well because is blooms in early spring. The Greek mythology hints that the narcissus was symbolic with death and loss. However Cancer Societies around the world have adopted the daffodil as a symbol of hope.
This flower has more uses that symbols. In traditional Japanese medicine, wounds were treated with a paste made with narcissus and wheat flour, while the ancient Romans used the narcissus root to get rid of “whatever has collected in the body.” Apart from legends and myths, the narcissus word comes from ‘narke’, which is Greek word for ‘numbness’ or ‘stupor.’ Pliny, the ancient Roman naturalist & philosopher wrote that the narcotic properties of the plant gave it its name ‘vapkaw narkao’ which translates as ‘I grow numb’ from the Greek word.
Native to the Mediterranean the most common species are found throughout North America arriving from Europe. Early colonists in the New World introduced them and they travelled across the continent along with them. The flower is being grown in Holland, Great Britain, the Isles of Sicily, as well as, Channel Islands.
Lycorine, an alkaloid poison, is present in all species of narcissus, located primarily in the bulb, however, the leaves are toxic as well. As the bulbs are often confused with onions, there are chances of accidental poisonings. Vomiting and muscular cramps are the most common symptoms of ingesting narcissus.
In addition to becoming a highly recognized symbol of hope due to various cancer societies, the language of flowers extends to the narcissus as well. The message connected to this flower is “You’re The Only One.” That is what symbolises the people born in this month.