The sight of Narcissus is a sure sign of the long-awaited spring season. All daffodils are of the Narcissus genus and Narcissus is also the scientific name. There are 12 different types, or cultivar classifications, of the flower called daffodil. Narcissus flowers, particularly the bulb, contain dangerous alcaloïdes such as narcissine and pseudolycorine, as well as saponines.
Although daffodil bulbs are poisonous, the flowers are a tasty delicacy for slugs. Watch for slugs or snails in your daffodils. Slugs will not eat the foliage but can eat a flower before you realise it is bloom time.
Deer generally avoid Narcissus, which is considered deer-resistant, because it has a very bitter, undesirable taste. However, deer may still pluck a flower, but will not eat clean out your crop.
Bulb flies will quickly infect Narcissus. The centre of the bulb is hollowed out and the flower bud is destroyed. Many infested bulbs rot away, though some survive to send up a few scrawny grasslike blades the following year.
Since most animals will directly avoid the bitter, toxic Narcissus flowers, eating the flowers directly is not usually the way pests will destroy the flower. Field mice have been known to occasionally eat the bulbs in the field as well as bulbs in storage. Field mice and squirrels will usually dig up the bulb, leaving it exposed to the harsh weather conditions, which then damage the flower.
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