Daffodil & Pink Dianthus
Daffodil & Pink Dianthus
Narcissus pseudonarcissus (commonly known as wild daffodil or Lent lily) is a perennial flowering plant. This species has pale yellow flowers, with a darker central trumpet. The long, narrow leaves are slightly greyish green in colour and rise from the base of the stem. Narcissus is a genus of predominantly spring perennial plants of the Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis) family. Various common names including daffodil, daffadowndilly, narcissus, and jonquil are used to describe all or some members of the genus. The names daffodil and affrodil come from the mediaeval Latin affodilus, and thence via asphodilus to the Greek asphodelus, the plant which grew across the meadows of the underworld. The name Daffodil is now in general use, Shakespeare (1) referring to
'Daffodils, that come before the swallow dares, and take the winds of March with beauty,' and again,
'When daffodils being to peer,
.. why then comes in the sweet of the year.'
However, Daffadowndilly is also quite popular, Spenser (2), for example, saying 'Strowe me. the ground with daffadowndillies'. Other local names include Easter Lily and Lent Lily. This species is generally thought to be native, though some suggest that it was introduced by the Romans. It does still occur in the south and west of England and Wales, but it is now only found locally. It may have been more common in the past and have suffered, like other species, from agricultural progress, with the associated draining and improvement of heavy grassland and the clearing of woods.
Dianthus is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae, native mainly to Europe and Asia, with a few species extending south to north Africa, and one species (D. repens) in arctic North America. Common names include carnation (D. caryophyllus), pink (D. plumarius and related species) and sweet william (D. barbatus). The plant illustrated here is clearly a Pink (Dianthus), but 'Under the name of Gillofers diverse sortes of floures are contayned ', as Lyte (3) said in A Niewe Herball (1578), on a page reproduced by Arber (4), and he was right. The term Gillyflower is still applied popularly to both Carnations and Stocks, although they belong to quite distinct families of flowering plant. This name, also spelt Gyllofer and Gilofre, derives from the French giroflée and this comes from the Latin caryophyllum (which also provides the family name Caryophyllaceae). It is also the name of the Clove plant, being a modification of the Arabic name Karanfal, and Dianthus caryophyllus. The Carnation, is also known as the Clove Pink, since it smells of cloves. Its other name comes because its flowers were used to make chaplets (5) or coronae. Thus Spenser (2) says, in the April Eclogue of The Shepherd’s Calendar:
'Bring hither the pincke and purple cullambine, With gelliflowres;
Bring coronations, and sops in wine ...'
The last line refers to the use of the flowers to flavour wine, Chaucer (6), for example, said 'and many a clove gilofre to put in ale'. Many species and hybrids of Dianthus are grown in gardens, more than sixty varieties known by 1600, and Shakespeare (1) says 'The fairest flowers of the season are our carnations and streak'd gillyvors, which some call nature's bastards' (Winter’s Tale). Blunt (7) has a woodcut of a Dianthus from de l’Écluse (1583).
(1) Shakespeare, William (1564-1616) poet, playwright, actor and dramatist, The Winter's Tale, 1623;
(2) Spenser, Edmund (1552-1599) was an English poet, The Shepherd's Calendar, April Eclogue, 1579;
(3) Henry Lyte (1529-1607) English botanist and antiquary, A niewe Herball (1578), a translation of the Cruydeboeck of Rembert Dodoens (Antwerp, 1564);
(4) Arber, Agnes (1879-1960) plant morphologist and anatomist, botanic historian and biology philosopher, Herbals: their origin and evolution. A chapter in the history of botany, 1938;
(5) A wreath for the head, usually a garland of flowers or leaves, also of gold, precious stones, etc.; a circlet, coronal.
(2) Spenser, Edmund (1552-1599) was an English poet, The Shepherd's Calendar, 1579;
(6) Chaucer, Geoffrey (c 1343-1400), poet, the Father of English literature, Tale of Sir Tophas from The Canterbury Tales,1387;
(7) Blunt, Wilfred (1901-1987) teacher, artist, author, The Art of Botanical Illustration. London, 1950;
(8) de l'Écluse, Charles (1526-1609), seigneur de Watènes, doctor, botanist, influential 16th-century scientific horticulturist;