Easily confused with : other
Wild Daffodil is very variable. It can have either white, off-white (creamy) or yellow tepals. It always has a long and yellow central corona (trumpet). There are many sub-species. Identifying the numerous varieties of Daffodil is fraught with difficulty even for experts. Sometimes the closest one can get to a true ID is to say which of the 12 divisions to which it belongs. Wild Daffodil is in Division 1. All double-flowered daffodils are in Division 4 (Flore Plena).
Wild Daffodil is fairly scarce in the wild, even in the English Lake District (most specimens and gatherings were actually planted, albeit in some cases a very long time ago).
The bulbs of daffodils are sometimes confused with
Onions leading to accidental poisoning (although Daffodils were transferred to the Onion and Garlic (aka
Alliaceae) family a while back).
Galantamine (aka Galanthamine) is an acclaimed drug (Nivalin®) for the treatment of Alzheimers disease, Polio, Central Nervous System disorders, and other problems to do with memory impairment. It is a reversible
cholinesterase inhibitor and is contained in many plants of the Daffodil Family. Although Galantamine can now be synthesized in the laboratory, it is for the time being much cheaper to harvest the drug from specially cultivated Caucasian Snowdrop, and also from cultivated species of Daffodil (for greater yield) grown in the Brecon Beacons.
Galamtamine is present only in certain varieties of Daffodil. If grown under stress at higher altitude, the Galantamine content is increased. Four varieties are being grown high up in the Brecon Beacons as a trial. Efforts are being made in the chemical synthesis of the drug to reverse the economics of the production of galantamine from Daffodils. Galantamine is present not only in Snowdrops and Daffodils but also in Summer Snowflake and
Red Spider Lily, etc, which are all members of the Daffodil Family (Amaryllidaceae). Galantamine has also been used to induce lucid dreams and out of body experiences. A chemically very similar compound, Lycoramine, is present in Fir Clubmoss
Haemanthamine (aka Natalensine, or Hemanthidine or 3-Epicrinamine) is an alkaloid from
Narcissus confusus with some chemical similarities to Galantamine, which was first isolated from Haemanthus ssp. hybrid 'King Albert'. It also occurs in Wild Daffodil. Extracts of the bulbs are used by Africans to treat a range of diverse ailments.
Pluvine and the related compound
Norplovine, (10-methoxy-3,12-didehydro- galantam-1,9-diol) and several derivatives, are related to Galantamine, and also occur in Wild Daffodil and other members of the Daffodil Family.
Wild Daffodil also contains Lycorine the main |
pyrrolo-phenanthridene alkaloid contained in members of the Daffodil Family. It is toxic inducing vomiting and convulsions. Nevertheless it is sometimes used medicinally.
Over 100 biologically active alkaloids have been isolated from members of the former Daffodil Amaryllidaceae Family which has now been subsumed into the Garlic & Onion Family, Alliaceae.