REPLY: [pbs] Narcissus vs. Daffodils
Mon, 22 Mar 2004 08:38:49 PST
Mary Sue et al ~

John's quote from Parkinson sums the difference quite nicely.  As I 
understand it, daffodil is a corruption of the term asphodel that occurred at some time 
way back.  Maybe Parkinson had something to do with that, as well.  

Thus, all daffodils are, of course, Narcissus and the terms are used 
interchangeably, although I think Narcissus is used more frequently when referring to 
the species/species forms.  The RHS Classification of Daffodils is based in 
part on the inclusion and presence of species characteristics in the hybrid 
(Division 5, N. triandrus; Division 6, N. cyclamineus; Division 7, N. jonquilla; 
Division 8, N. tazetta; Division 9, N. poeticus; Division 10, N. bulbocodium).  

The Dutch really confuse things by referring to trumpet and large cup 
daffodils as "Daffodils" and the small cupped forms (i.e., Division 3) as "Narcissi." 
 For what it is worth, use of the "i" form when making the plural of a "us" 
form has always irritated.  It is really just clearer to refer to Narcissus as 
Narcissus, Gladiolus as Gladiolus, etc., whether the term is being used to r
efer to a single example or multiple ones.  The same idea as expressed in sheep 
and sheep (not "ships") or moose and moose (not "meese"), and so on.

It gets even more confusing as one travels into the Southeastern part of the 
USA.  Here, for some reason unknown to me, all yellow daffodils are 
colloquially referred to as "jonquils," irrespective of whether they really are.  In 
Arkansas, the confusion gets even thicker as here yellow "jonquils" are referred 
to as "buttercups."  Of course, the buttercup is an entirely different plant!  
Daffodils/Narcissus/Jonquils/Buttercups have been grown along the Eastern 
Seaboard ever since the first examples were imported along with some of the 
earliest colonists.  They have existed, sometimes in great masses, ever since.  As 
Tony Avent pointed out, it can be fun collecting and growing on what have 
recently been gentrified by being referred to as Historic or Heirloom daffodils.  

I grow an old jonquil (Classified as RHS Division 7, Jonquil Daffodils.  
Daffodils so classified have to show parentage involving one of the species or 
species forms of N. jonquilla or Apodanthus, etc.) named 'Buttercup.'  The 
observation made about this clone that has always tickled me is that it is not only 
a Daffodil but, also, a Narcissus, along with being both a [legal] Jonquil and 
a Buttercup.  Hits all four bases!

Dave Karnstedt
Cascade Daffodils
Silverton, Oregon  97381-0237
email:  davekarn@!
Cool Mediterranean, USDA Zone 7-8

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