It’s a pleasure to see Wild Daffodils. They were our main target species on a recent walk with the Wiltshire Botanical Society (WBS). Gloucestershire may have the more famous Golden Triangle of Wild Daffodils, but it was a delight to see this native species closer to my Wiltshire home at West Woods, near Marlborough. The yellow flowers looked even more special backlit by sunshine in a break between showers.
To eyes accustomed to garden hybrids, Wild Daffodils seem somewhat small in stature. Yet, they are perfectly formed. The trumpet (corona) is a warm yellow surrounded by pale yellow, slightly twisted petals (tepals). The leaves are grey-green in colour and long, narrow and strap-like in appearance.
Our native Daffodil is called Narcissus pseudonarcissus subsp. pseudonarcissus. The recently published Plant Atlas 2020 describes assessing the extent of its native range as intractable. It is hard to distinguish original sites from deliberate plantings. Many bulbs have been planted in traditional native Daffodil sites. The issue is compounded by inconsistent recording of Daffodils. Many recorders ignore deliberately planted bulbs. Village approaches are often festooned with naturalised Daffodils at this time of year. There is some concern that an increase in alien cultivars may be obscuring losses of our native populations.
The Daffodil site at West Woods was once part of the Royal Hunting Forest at Savernake. Its trees were felled in 1928 and then replanted. Today’s primarily Beech trees are thus more recent plantings than the ancient trees to the east at Savernake Forest. Archaeological evidence points to human activity in Mesolithic, Neolithic and post-Medieval times.
Spring seems a little later this year. Or maybe I should say that it is not as early as in recent years? I was disappointed not to see any Primroses or Violets in flower. At times, the going was heavy after all the recent downpours. My footwear choice of wellies proved appropriate. Nonetheless, in addition to the delightful Daffodils, the woodland floor vegetation held the future promise of magnificent native Bluebell displays. A return visit to West Woods is definitely called for as spring progresses.
© Karen Andrews
Further Reading and References
- Lewis, Amy (2021): Where to see Wild Daffodils in the UK. Woodland Trust. 22 February 2021.
- Stroh, P. A. et al. (2023): Plant Atlas 2020. Mapping Changes in the Distribution of the British and Irish Flora. Volume 2. Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Princeton. (p. 1239)
- UK Southwest (?): West Woods, Wiltshire.
- Wildlife Trusts, The (2023): Wild Daffodil.
Karen does not seek or receive any commercial interest or advantage from this blog. She is not promoting any business venture. She simply loves to share fascinating facts about plants. These pages illustrate her love of plants, botany, biodiversity, gardens and creative expression. There is always so much to learn about plant diversity. This blog is designed as a showcase for photography, commentary on plants and wildlife, gardens and other places visited.