Long, tall Daffy

BLOOMING marvellous!That was the surprised response from one Suffolk gardener when he discovered a 41-inch tall daffodil growing in a garden that he tends.

By Jo Macdonald

BLOOMING marvellous!

That was the surprised response from one Suffolk gardener when he discovered a 41-inch tall daffodil growing in a garden that he tends.

The horticultural phenomenon - which is more than twice the height of an average daffodil - had embedded its roots in the lawn of a house in Finborough Road, Stowmarket.


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Gardener Alan Salmon had been keeping an amazed eye on it for a few weeks, as it continued to grow taller and taller, until it eventually bloomed just before the weekend.

"I grew it for my boss David Hopgood, who's a businessman in the area," said astounded Alan.

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"It was probably about three weeks ago that I first noticed it, and it flowered in the last few days.

"It's a big flower and comes to just above my hip. Daffodils are normally between 12 and 18 inches high."

Mr Salmon, who has been working in horticulture for about 15 years, admits he has seen some strange things in people's gardens in the past but never a daffodil like this.

"I work at a lot of different gardens and estates and have seen some pretty unusual things but nothing like this.

"There are a couple of other daffs in the garden which are about 25 inches, which is quite big for daffodils, but this is exceptional. It's incredible."

The flower towers above the blooms surrounding it and has left Mr Salmon and Mr Hopgood wondering whether it is a record-breaking daffodil.

They have tried to work out why it was able to grow so tall.

"I think it got so big because it grew in a shrub border and the shrubs have protected it from the wind, so it didn't bend or break off," Mr Salmon explained.

"And I think the fact it didn't have a lot of light may have helped. It's just bolted up towards the light.

"Most plants would probably have died if they didn't have light, but this one has managed to survive. It's just gone all the way up."

The gigantic daffodil has since been cut, to allow it to be measured properly and so Mr Salmon and Mr Hopgood can keep a record of the astonishing bloom.

The Guinness Book of World Records website shows no record for the tallest daffodil ever recorded.

See www.guinnessrecords.com

N

The daffodil is also known as Narcissus, Porillon, Daffy-down-dilly, Fleur de coucou and Lent Lily.

---Parts Used---Bulb, leaves, flowers.

---Habitat---Europe, including Britain.

---Description---The Common Daffodil, a representative of the Ajax group, grows wild in most European countries. Its green, linear leaves about a foot long, and golden, terminal flowers, are familiar in moist woods and country gardens.

The bulbs should be gathered during the winter, and the flowers when in full bloom, in dry weather, and dried quickly. The bulbs and not the flowers of other species are used.

---Constituents---Professor Barger has given the following notes on the alkaloid of Narcissus Pseudo-narcissus. 'In 1910 Ewins obtained from the bulbs a crystalline alkaloid, to which he gave the name of narcissine, and on analysis found the formula to be C16H17ON.' He notes that the alkaloid is characterized by great stability and cannot easily be decomposed. Ringer and Morshead found the alkaloid from resting bulbs acted like pilocarpine, while that from the flowering bulbs resembled atropine. Laidlaw tested Ewins' alkaloid on frogs and cats, but found no action similar to pilocarpine or atropine. 0.125 gram given by mouth to a cat caused vomiting, salivation and purgation. In 1920 Asahtna, Professor of Chemistry in the Tokyo College of Pharmacy, showed that narcissine is identical with Iycorine isolated from Lycoris radiata in 1899. The name narcissine has therefore been dropped. Lycorine is quite common in the N.O. Amaryllidaceae. It was found in Buphane disticha by Tutin in the Mellome Research Laboratory in 1911 (Journ. Chem. Soc. Transactions 99, page 1,240). It is generally present in quite small quantities, at most 0.1 to 0.18 per cent of the fresh material. Chemically, Iycorine or narcissine has some resemblance to hydrastine, and like it, contains a dioxymethylene group.

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---Medicinal Action and Uses---The following is a quotation from Culpepper:

'Yellow Daffodils are under the dominion of Mars, and the roots thereof are hot and dry in the third degree. The roots boiled and taken in posset drink cause vomiting and are used with good success at the appearance of approaching agues, especially the tertian ague, which is frequently caught in the springtime. A plaster made of the roots with parched barley meal dissolves hard swellings and imposthumes, being applied thereto; the juice mingled with honey, frankincense wine, and myrrh, and dropped into the ears is good against the corrupt and running matter of the ears, the roots made hollow and boiled in oil help raw ribed heels; the juice of the root is good for the morphew and the discolouring of the skin.'

It is said by Galen to have astringent properties. It has been used as an application to wounds. For hard imposthumes, for burns, for strained sinews, stiff or painful joints, and other local ailments, and for 'drawing forth thorns or stubs from any part of the body' it was highly esteemed.

The Daffodil was the basis of an ancient ointment called Narcissimum.

The powdered flowers have been used as an emetic in place of the bulbs, and in the form of infusion or syrup, in pulmonary catarrh

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