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Updated: Mar 6, 2020


Is it a daffodil or narcissus or jonquil?

Maybe we can straighten out this long held confusion as to what to call those beautiful yellow spring trumpets blooming in many yards, at Big Bear Shelter and at the Butterfly garden.

Belonging to the Amaryllis family, the genus Narcissus has been developed by nurserymen and bulb growers into one of the most popular spring flowers.

Narcissus jonquilla (the true jonquil) has hollow, cylindrical leaves looking a bit like rushes. The corona (flower center) is shorter than the perianth, which is made up of 3 petals and 3 sepals, all alike, vertical and facing one direction. Most jonquils have multiple flowers of 3 to 10 clusters on long stems.

Trumpet Narcissus (N. pseudo-narcissus) is the familiar daffodil of early bloom, in all white, all yellow or bicolor.

Bulb growers classify the many kinds of Narcissus into 11 broad groups, based on the floral shapes and sizes. A few of the groups are mentioned below as well as the two groups listed earlier.

The incomparable Narcissus have shorter trumpets and typically bloom later.

The Barri Narcissus have quite small cup-like coronas, brilliantly colored in contrast to the usually white perianth. Some varieties are very fragrant.

The Poetaz hybrids have clusters of 4 to 8 blossoms with a strong fragrance. They, too, are late bloomers, making it possible to have a constant show of “daffodils” blooming for 6 to 8 weeks. This group has some varieties not hardy in the colder areas of the states, but like the Paperwhites, can be forced indoors for winter bloom.

Some of the Poeticus variety or Poet's Narcissus, thrive mostly in moist, shaded areas coming originally from Southern Europe. They have tiny cups.

Double Narcissus are offered by many nurseries and some have dramatic color variations. The bulbs will repeat their color patterns from year to year.

Miniature forms of Narcissus form another group and are often planted in rock gardens. The N. bulbocodium is known as the Hooped Narcissus due to the shape of the bright yellow corona. The perianth is composed of thin, tiny inconspicuous petals. Very unusual for a narcissus. The whole plant is only a few inches high.

If you're tempted to grow one of these unusual varieties or some of the more popular kinds of “daffodils” remember that you must allow the leaves to remain after blooming as long as possible to help the bulb develop the energy to form the flower buds for the next year. About one third of a cluster of leaves can be cut off and the rest tied up until brown and wilted. The floral parts should be cut off when they dry up to keep any seed from forming.

Bulbs will multiply yearly and can be easily separated in fall and replanted to enjoy their beauty at various spots around your yard.

Narcissus may be started from seed but it takes many years for the bulb to grow large enough to produce flowers. This might explain the isolated cluster of daffodils found on a hillside or along the creek.

The daffodils at Big Bear shelter were planted by Girl Scout Troop 142.

Tickets are now available at Frog Quarters and the Chamber of Commerce for the Frog Hop, our yearly dinner/auction to be held on Saturday, March 21, at the Whistlestop Mall. Good food (by Jer's Kitchen), music, great auction items, and door prizes will make this evening memorable. We appreciate your help in supporting the Greenway. In 2008 over $12,000 of Friends of the Greenway, Inc. profits went into amenities and programs for the Greenway.

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