Garden News Blog

Notice How Different Daffodils Can Be

At first glace, you might think daffodils are all alike, but look closely and you will see that quite a lot of variation. Daffodils (Narcissus species and cultivars) are divided into different divisions based on the number of flowers per stem, flower shape, and the relative size of their petals and coronas (the “cup” in the center). This spring’s early-flowering daffodils have bloomed, the mid- to late-flowering cultivars are going strong, and there will likely be plenty in bloom through mid-May, says Anne O’Neill, curator of the Shakespeare and Fragrance Gardens, as well as Daffodil Hill.

O’Neill has planted representatives from ten different divisions and included a wide variety of cultivars. As you stroll around the Garden, especially in the Shakespeare and Fragrance Gardens and on Daffodil Hill, you’ll see cultivars like large, white ‘Mount Hood’, orange and white ‘High Society’, and petite, light yellow ‘Sun Disc’. “I’m a little biased toward nice names,” says O’Neill, who also admits to a tendency for choosing cultivars from her native Ireland. “That’s partly because they’re underrepresented here, but also because I know them so well.”

Sarah Schmidt edits BBG's editorial content, including the blog, how-to articles, and the Guides for a Greener Planet handbook series.

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Image, top of page:
Narcissus 'Sundisc', a jonquil (Division 7).
Narcissus 'Mount Hood' on Daffodil Hill, an example of a trumpet (Division 1) daffodil. Photo by Elizabeth Peters.
This Narcissus 'White Lion' is an example of a double (Division 4) daffodil. Photo by Elizabeth Peters.
Narcissus obvallaris, an example of a wild (Division 10) daffodil. Photo by Elizabeth Peters.
An example of a tazetta (Division 8) daffodil. Photo by Elizabeth Peters.