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Daffodil (wild)

(Narcissus pseudonarcissus ssp pseudonarcissus )

Wild daffodils © Bob Gibbons

Wild daffodils © Bob Gibbons


"When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils"

- William Wordsworth, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

Our native daffodil is smaller than many garden varieties but is still a striking sight in early spring. It is also known as the 'Lent lily' since it often blooms and fades within the Lenten period.

How to spot it

The wild daffodil is smaller than horticultural varieties, with paler petals. It grows in groups.

Where it grows

Woods, fields and orchards.

Best time to see

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

Cultural info

  • As well as a national symbol of Wales, the wild daffodil is also the County Flower of Gloucestershire.
  • In the Language of Flowers it represents hope, folly and unrequited love.

How's it doing?

Once one of the most common wildflowers to be found in the English and Welsh countryside, this wild flower declined mysteriously in the mid-nineteenth century. Picking by passers-by doesn't seem to have been the cause (daffodils are relatively resistant to this practice) - a more likely culprit was the simultaneous fall in cash-crops grown by locals, hoping to capitalizing on its popularity. This, 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. 

3 things you may not know

  • Daffodil in Welsh is Cenhinen Pedr - which literally translates as Pedr's (or Peter's) leek! That said, 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.
  • The ‘golden triangle' around Newent and Dymock is famous for its wild woodland daffodils. 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.
  • Daffodil bulbs are used by pharmacists as a source of a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

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