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National Emblems of Wales

by Gary Reading, Feb 2018

The Daffodil And The Leek.

Across Wales, at this time of year and indeed much of the British Isles you will come upon bunches of glorious trumpet-shaped bright yellow flowers, swaying to and fro in the wind as if in unison to some gentle symphony with mother nature as its conductor, the humble daffodil or Cenhinen Pedr in Welsh as most of us know is the national flower of Wales and like the rose is for England or the thistle for Scotland and the shamrock for Northern Ireland the daffodil is given almost royal status among its people across Wales.

But why the daffodil? The flower is linked to the leek the humble root vegetable that has been used as another symbol of Wales for many generations, indeed William Shakespeare mentioned it in Henry V, During Tudor times guards wore leeks on March 1, known as St David’s Day in honor of the patron saint of Wales. According to legend, St David advised the Britons to wear leeks on their helmets when they fought the Saxons to distinguish friend from foe.

The Daffodil has its roots in the 19th century but became famously associated with the Welsh Prime Minister David Lloyd George during the 20th century when he wore one on St Davids Day to mark the investiture of the then Prince Of Wales.

Here are a few facts of interest about the daffodil.

* Giving a bouquet of daffodils is believed to ensure happiness to the recipient…..

*If you present a single daffodil it may mean bad luck is on the way.

*Daffodils can flower anywhere from six weeks to six months depending on growing conditions.

*There are at least 25 different daffodil species.

*Daffodils are surprisingly tolerant of the cold.

*They are the tenth wedding anniversary flower.

So there you have it both the leek and the daffodil national emblems of Wales or as one well know scribe wrote.

It is not raining rain to me, it’s raining daffodils; In every dimpled drop I see wildflowers on distant hills.

Robert Loveman