Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Daffodils in the Fall

Jack and I have some daffodils planted in a bed of mostly liriope. Since we cut the lirope foliage back each spring, the daffodils have a chance to put on their show in the early spring and, later, the liriope helps disguise the daffodil foliage as it dies back. Sometime back in the summer, I noticed one bunch of daffodil foliage sprouting up in the liriope. I didn't think much of it. Curious to see what the outcome would be, I just left it alone. Several weeks ago, I noticed that a strange bloom stalk had emerged. Strange because those daffodils normally have fat buds and this one was one the slender side and strange because this is fall and daffodils bloom in spring. From there things got "curiouser and curiouser" (as Alice said about Wonderland). The bloom stalk produced a stalk with multi-flower buds, not the single one I expected. Clearly this fellow was a new arrival, but how did he get there? 

Just a few days ago, I downloaded a new garden app on my smart phone that is supposed to identify plants. So I took a picture using the app. After searching its database, the app returned a series of pictures of narcissus that closely matched this one. Unfortunately, the genus name narcissus was all that was provided and I had already guessed that much and was hoping for a bit more specificity. 

So I consulted the American Daffodil Society website. They listed 13 daffodil divisions that you can view here. After examining this flower more closely, it appears to be a Division 13 (Species, Wild Variants and Wild Hybrids). As you can see in this picture, both the petals (perianth segments) and the cup (corona) are white. They remind me of the paperwhites that are forced into bloom this time  of year.

By the way, in case you get as confused by nomenclature as I do for this genus, the American Daffodil Society says that there is no difference between Narcissus and daffodils. Narcissus is the botanical name for the genus and daffodil is the common name for all flowers in the genus. They recommend using daffodil at all times, except in scientific writing. The term "jonquil" applies only to daffodils in certain categories. And the term "buttercup"? I could find nothing about this term on the internet, other than it is incorrect. But that's what everyone called them when I was growing up in Tipton County, and, in my mind, the common yellow ones will always be buttercups. I wonder if it is a Tennessee thing?

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