What Are the Differences Between Daffodils, Narcissus, and Jonquils?

Updated on October 12, 2017
OldRoses profile image

Caren White is a Master Gardener and instructor at Home Gardeners School. She has been a volunteer at Rutgers Gardens for over a decade.

Source

The sunny yellow flowers of daffodils are a welcome sight after a long winter, especially in areas of the country where deer are a problem. Deer don’t eat them because they are poisonous.

In some parts of the country, daffodils are called jonquils. Bulb catalogs often refer to large cup varieties as daffodils and the rest as narcissus. And then there are usually a couple of pages of jonquils. Confused yet?

A daffodil by any other name . . .

Let’s see if we can sort this out. No matter what they are called by gardeners, all daffodils, narcissus and jonquils are members of the Narcissi family. Within that family there are 12 groups of flowers:

  1. Trumpet
  2. Large Cup
  3. Small Cup
  4. Double
  5. Triandrus
  6. Cyclamineus
  7. Jonquilla
  8. Tazetta
  9. Poeticus
  10. Bulbocodium
  11. Split Corona
  12. Other Cultivars

Mt. Hood
Mt. Hood | Source

Trumpet vs Large Cup

Most of us are familiar with trumpet daffodils such as the classic yellow King Alfred and the heirloom white Mount Hood. Aren’t large cup the same as trumpet? Actually, no. A daffodil is considered a trumpet if it has a single flower on each stem and if the length of the corona (“trumpet”) is as long as or longer than the perianth (surrounding petals). To be considered a large cup daffodil, it has to have a single flower on each stem with the corona shorter than the perianth but at least one third as large.

Poeticus
Poeticus | Source

Small cup vs Poeticus

Small cup daffodils have single flowers and coronas that are shorter than one third the length of the perianth. Poeticus daffodils are my favorite. They have single flowers and the corona is only a tiny disc usually with a red rim.

Double
Double | Source

Double

Double daffodils are pretty self-explanatory. The corona or the perianth or sometimes both, are double giving them the appearance of peonies or roses.

Thalia, an heirloom Triandrus daffodil
Thalia, an heirloom Triandrus daffodil | Source

Triandrus

Not often seen, triandrus daffodils have two or more flowers per stem. The coronas point downwards while the surrounding perianth are “reflexed”, meaning that they are bent away from the corona.

Cyclamineus
Cyclamineus | Source

Cyclamineus

Cyclamineus daffodils are similar to Triandrus but they only have a single flower per stem. They have the same downwards facing coronas and reflexed perianth.

Jonquilla
Jonquilla | Source

Jonquilla

Finally, we get to the jonquils. Jonquils usually have one to five flowers per stem and short coronas. Look at where they are joined to the stem. It is almost a ninety degree angle from the stem to the flower.

Tazetta
Tazetta | Source

Tazetta

If you have ever forced bulbs indoors, then you are familiar with Tazetta daffodils. The most common variety used in forcing are called Paperwhite Narcissus. They have multiple flowers per stem, anywhere from three to twenty and they are very, very fragrant.

Bulbocodium
Bulbocodium | Source

Bulbocodium

These are very tiny plants, only 6 to 8 inches tall. The leaves look like grass. The flowers are also unusual. Instead of being shaped like a trumpet, the coronas are flared. The perianth are just almost non-existent, just a few spike-y petals.

Split Corona
Split Corona | Source

Split Corona

Personally, I think that these are ugly. They look like their coronas have exploded. The coronas don’t look like “normal” trumpets, more like individual petals.

Tete-a-Tete
Tete-a-Tete | Source

Other Cultivars

This is a catch-all category that includes any daffodils that don’t fit into the other categories such as Tete-a-Tete, a miniature daffodil.

I hope that this very brief overview of a large family of flowers will be helpful to you when choosing daffodils for your spring garden. Try a few of the unusual ones and see how you like them. If you are like me and forget over the winter what you have planted, you will find exciting surprises as spring progresses. Only the deer will be disappointed.

© 2017 Caren White

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • OldRoses profile image
      Author

      Caren White 8 months ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      Mary, there are now pink daffodils that your husband may find more attractvie. Or I believe they are called Tahiti daffodils that have dark orange trumpets. Not all daffodils are yellow. Try some different colors! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 8 months ago from Brazil

      I had no idea there were so many types. I love, what I now know is the King Alfred.

      The white ones are beautiful but I don't think I have ever seen them before.

      I agree with you, the split corona is rather ugly, it looks like a fried egg.

      Although I love the yellow daffodil, my husband hates them, saying they are no more than a common weed.

      Thanks for the informative article.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)