Plants are essential to everyone's lives. Welcome to Plantlife.

Daffodil (wild)

(Narcissus pseudonarcissus ssp pseudonarcissus )

Wild daffodils © Andrew Gagg/Plantlife

Wild daffodils © Andrew Gagg/Plantlife


The wild daffodil is small in comparison to garden varieties, with paler petals.

However, it is still a sizable wildflower and grows in groups: a striking sight in early spring. It is also known as the 'Lent lily'.

As well as being a national symbol of Wales, the daffodil is also the County Flower of Gloucestershire. In fact, the ‘golden triangle' around the villages of Newent and Dymock is famous for its wild woodland daffodils. In the 1930s, the railway even ran ‘Daffodil Specials' there from London. A 10-mile footpath known as ‘The Daffodil Way' runs through woods, orchards and meadows, in which the wild daffodil is rarely out of sight.

Distribution

Once one of the most common wildflowers to be found in the English and Welsh countryside, the wild daffodil suffered a mysterious decline in the mid-nineteenth century. Despite its popularity, picking by admiring passers-by doesn't seem to have been the cause (all daffodils are relatively resistant to this practice).

It was, however, grown en masse and harvested by entrepreneurial locals as a cash crop, capitalizing on its popularity. The decline of this practice, combined with agricultural intensification and mismanagement of its habitat probably explains why wild populations have become rarer and rarer.

It currently survives in patchy populations, often scattered across the western side of Britain. The wild daffodil had also been introduced to some areas of Scotland and Ireland.

Habitat

Woods, fields and orchards.

Best time to see

Their distinctive pale yellow blooms can bee seen at their best in March and April.

Did you know?

The daffodil is, of course, a national symbol of Wales and is worn on St. David's Day. There is actually a linguistic link between it and that other symbol of Wales, the leek. Daffodil in Welsh is Cenhinen Pedr - which literally translates as Pedr's (or Peter's) leek!

The true Welsh daffodil is the Tenby daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus ssp. obvallaris, a sub-species of the wild variety. Although it is likely this was originally a cultivated flower it now grows wild across south-west Wales.