Daffodils

Paper-white Daffodil Bunch-flowered Daffodil Pheasant's-eye Daffodil Spanish Daffodil

What are they?

The cheery faces of daffodils brighten up spring and are familiar to everyone as they crowd so many public spaces in great numbers. Daffodils are bulbous plants, the young shoots pushing through in late winter and the leaves dying down by early summer. Although we have a native species in the UK, a number of other species have been introduced as garden ornamentals, while the horticultural industry has taken these species and produced an almost overwhelming number of hybrids and cultivated selections.

Where are they found?

Introduced plants are abundant in human-influenced habitats - along roadsides, in churchyards, cemeteries, parks and amenity areas. The true native species is possibly native in East Anglia in a handful of open woodland sites and damp meadows.

Identification

Identification of daffodils is based almost entirely on the flowers. While the true species are not too difficult to identify, the process is complicated by the great abundance of cultivated varieties and you may find that many cannot be satisfactorily identified fully. Daffodils have a double row of three sepals and three petals which together form an outer ring of six tepals (sepals and petals are collectively called tepals when they are effecively the same in appearance). Inside of this ring sits a circular 'frill' known as the corona. Tepals and coronas will be referred to in the species descriptions. For identification purposes, details to note include: colour of the tepals and corona and their respective lengths; number of flowers on a stem; length of corona; length of perianth tube (measured from top of ovary to the point where the tepals and corona separate (see understanding daffodils)) and whether the tepals are patent (at ninety degrees to the flower centre), reflexed or tilted forward).



Bunch-flowered Daffodil      Narcissus tazetta

Introduced from mainland Europe. Flowers January to April. Flowers small, 1-2 per stem. Perianth tube 10-13mm. Tepals yellow, 12-20mm long; corona yellow, usually a little darker than tepals, 11-17mm long. Often sold as the cultivar 'Tete-a-Tete' which has two flowers per stem (hence the name!), but plants have a habit of reverting to a single flower over time.

Bunch-flowered Daffodil Bunch-flowered Daffodil Bunch-flowered Daffodil Bunch-flowered Daffodil
Bunch-flowered Daffodil Bunch-flowered Daffodil Bunch-flowered Daffodil Bunch-flowered Daffodil


Head-to-head Daffodil      Narcissus x cyclazetta

(Narcissu tazetta x N. cyclamineus). A hybrid of garden origin. Flowers February to April. Flowers small, 20-35mm in diameter, typically 3-8 per stem. Perianth tube 20mm. Tepals white or yellow, corona yellow or orange, darker than tepals.

Head-to-head Daffodil Head-to-head Daffodil Head-to-head Daffodil


Paper-white Daffodil      Narcissus papyraceus

Introduced from mainland Europe. Flowers January to April. Flowers small, 3-20 per stem. Perianth tube 10-20mm. Tepals white, 8-18mm long; corona white, 3-4mm long. Flowers sometimes double.

Paper-white Daffodil Paper-white Daffodil Paper-white Daffodil Paper-white Daffodil


Pheasant's-eye Daffodil      Narcissus poeticus

Introduced from mainland Europe. Flowers April to May. Flowers medium-sized, one per stem. Perianth tube 20-30mm. Tepals white, 15-25mm long, patent or sometimes a little reflexed; corona yellow with a red-orange tip, 1-3.5mm long.

Pheasant's-eye Daffodil Pheasant's-eye Daffodil Pheasant's-eye Daffodil Pheasant's-eye Daffodil


Boutigny's Daffodil      Narcissus x boutignyanus

(Narcissus poeticus x N. moschatus). A hybrid probably of garden origin but also known from the wild in Spain. Flowers March to April. Flowers medium-sized, one per stem. Perianth tube 20-25mm. Tepals white, 25-40mm long, patent; corona yellow or orange-yellow, 12-15mm long.

Boutigny's Daffodil Boutigny's Daffodil Boutigny's Daffodil Boutigny's Daffodil


Nonesuch Daffodil      Narcissus x incomparabilis

(Narcissus poeticus x N. pseudonarcissus). A hybrid of garden origin but also known from the wild in Spain. Flowers March to April. Flowers medium-sized, one per stem. Perianth tube 20-25mm. Tepals light yellow, 25-30mm long, patent; corona deep yellow or orange-yellow, 12-22mm long.

Nonesuch Daffodil Nonesuch Daffodil


Common Daffodil      Narcissus pseudonarcissus ssp. pseudonarcissus

Probably native. This is our native daffodil in the UK, but its status in East Anglia is impossible to assess as it has been in cultivation since at least medieval times. Flowers Febuary to April. Flowers large, one per stem. Perianth tube 15-22mm. Tepals pale yellow, 20-40mm long, usually tilted forward but sometimes eventually patent when fully mature; corona yellow, darker than tepals 20-35mm long. The true species is typically shorter-stemmed and a little smaller flowered than many of the hybrids that have been bred from it and are commonly planted into the landscape.

Common Daffodil Common Daffodil Common Daffodil Common Daffodil


Common Daffodil Hybrids      Narcissus pseudonarcissus

This group covers a multitude of hybrids with Common Daffodil and closely related species, or selected strains. These tend to be the 'big and blousy', brilliant yellow plants seen in great abundance and whose stems are often too weak to support the large flowers, causing them to easily bend over. Within this group there are also a number of white forms as well as double varieties.

Common Daffodil Hybrids Common Daffodil Hybrids Common Daffodil Hybrids Common Daffodil Hybrids


Reflexed Daffodil      Narcissus x monochromus

(Narcissus pseudonarcissus x N. cyclamineus). A hybrid of garden origin. Flowers February to March. Flowers medium-sized, one per stem. Perianth tube 10-15mm. Tepals yellow, 25-35mm long, clearly reflexed; corona yellow, typically a little darker than the tepals, 20-25mm long. Commonly planted as the cultivar 'February Gold'.

Reflexed Daffodil Reflexed Daffodil Reflexed Daffodil Reflexed Daffodil


Spanish Daffodil      Narcissus hispanicus

Introduced from mainland Europe. Flowers March to May. Flowers large, one per stem. Perianth tube 18-20mm. Tepals yellow, 18-40mm long, more or less patent and usually twisted; corona yellow, the same colour as the tepals 40-45mm long. This species has been used a lot in the production of cultivated varieties and has parentage in many of the all yellow forms of large daffodils.

Spanish Daffodil Spanish Daffodil Spanish Daffodil Spanish Daffodil