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Daffodils Marks the Return of Spring to Alabama

The Democrat Reporter of Linden, Alabama

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ALABAMA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION NEWS

It is not unusual to see a bunch of yellow flowers blooming on the side of the road or in the middle of a field in February or March in Marengo County. It is the old familiar daffodil. Ever wonder why you see these flowers (yellow or white) blooming in these unusual places? These flowers have a long history in rural Alabama.

Each year daffodils burst forth in many flower beds around our homes. Right now my daffodils and forsythia are in full bloom. They are our harbingers of spring much more so than robins. Mine are like those that grow in the ditch of the road- they are "wild" daffodils, and they speak of our history. Their presence reveals the history of the area and are likely evidence of an old home site where people once lived. Of course they are not really "wild" but some garden leftovers of the first flowers planted in this country. Even though they are beautiful, it is their ability to survive and bloom year after year, that.makes them valued.

Daffodils are part of the Amaryllis family so they develop exclusively from bulbs and have the ability to multiply and return each year. They originated from Asia and southern Europe, especially around the Mediterranean area. Next to tulips, they are one of the most |x>pular spring flowers. (I like them better than tulips because they do not have to be dug up and replanted each year as tulips do.) Their yellow or white flowers add color to our dull late winter landscape and remind us that spring will soon be here.

Daffodils are old-fashion flowers so they have a variety of names. Members of this family of flowers are referred to as daffodils or buttercups or narcissus or even jonquils. The term "narcissus" is the name of the whole genus of daffodils and a few other closely related flowers. Many white varieties of daffodils are generally called narcissus. The name "jonquil" applies only to a specific type of daffodil.

The daffodils found growing wild in Alabama are also known as "Lent lily." They came from portions of Europe and may have been one of the first types of daffodils introduced to North America. There are many other old varieties that remain at home sites and bloom each year but their names are either forgotten or unknown. Some named varieties that are popular in the South include "King Alfred," "Ice Follies," "Butter and Eggs," and "Twin Sisters."

Daffodils come in a variety of colors and sizes. Most are known for their large, yellow trumpet-shaped flowers, however, daffodils may be white, gold, orange, pink, or a combination of these colors. Their trumpets may be flared or smooth, long or short, Their petals may overlap around the trumpet like a fan, or they may twist and flare back like a jet trail. Many daffodils are fragrant.

Very little effort is needed to grow them. All they need is a well-drained site, moisture in the spring, and about six hours of sun a day after they bloom. The only maintenance is to cut daffodils back in the summer after their flowers fade and their foliage has naturally died back and browned. When the Mage is green, the plant is building and storing up energy for next year's flower show. Daffodils are planted to provide years of enjoyment. The next time you see a daffodil, remember that someone took the time to plant that bulb and feel privileged that you have been given the chance to share the moment and beauty of this historic flower.

If you need more information on daffodils or similar flowers, call the Marengo County Extension office at 295-5959 or go to www.aces.edu.



Copyright 2012 The Democrat Reporter, Linden, Alabama. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: February 16, 2012



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