Jogging back from an early morning meeting I crossed a park planted in the dapple shade with a variety of daffodils (Genus: Narcissus) needless to say I was still there 20 minutes later careful picking my way through
the flowers photographing the different varieties when it occurred to me that I know very little about this iconic herald of spring.
So gaudy and bright planted in every park and hedgerow unnaturally, even farmed I can’t believe such a horticultural genetics experiment could be a native species.
They are, or at least were with small pockets of narcissus pseudonarcissus, our native daffodil which was brought over during the last ice age from mainland Europe can still be found in small pockets in nature reserves and along verges.
The colourful displays we are most likely to see however are the result of intentional planting of cultivates and hybrid varieties to bring a bit of early Spring colour into our lives. They’re beautiful to see but unnerving perhaps in their homogeneous clumps.
The problem with this is only that it pushes out our native species as they are out competed. Daffodils are non-invasive in themselves however due to their popularity with groundskeepers and landscape planners they’re dominating our parks, verges and woodlands. Not only are they taking up space in favour of native species but they growing so closely together they overwhelm native plants such as cowslips.
With so many native species underthreat perhaps we should spend the resources rejuvenating wildflower areas.
I’m unsure. More research is definitely needed but what do you think, daffodils: Encouraging sight or a danger to native wildflowers?