Sunday, March 01, 2015

Daffodil

What else could it be on St David's day? Narcissus pseudonarcissus or the daffodil. I'm not entirely sure which subspecies this is, but it could the the Tenby daffodil, N. pseudonarcissus ssp obvallaris.
They used to be in the lily family but are now in the  Amaryllidaceae. Most are garden escapes or have been planted, with the majority of native plants found in the west. 
I remember seeing the native ones for the first time when we met my parents in Newent and did the daffodil trail; it seemed unbelievable that such a stunning flower could have evolved in our climate.
Having just acquired a copy of Geoffrey Grigson's superlative work The Englishman's Flora I must include his quote from Gerard Manley Hopkins who, on espying some growing in Lancashire, wrote: "The bright yellow corolla is seeded with very fine spangles which give it a glister and lie on a ribbing which makes it like cloth of gold." Mr Grigson gives the derivation of the common name thus: 'through Mediaeval Latin affodilus and Latin asphodilus, to the Greek asphodelus, the name of the plant which grew across the meadows of the underworld and which belonged to Persephone, the Queen of Hell.'
These were growing on a bank surrounding the car park on Chailey Common on Friday. The ones in our garden are yet to break bud. Iechyd da everyone!

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