Saturday, March 28, 2015

Daffodil day

We set out last week to check some of Brecknockshire's known sites for Narcissus pseudonarcissus, the native Daffodil. This is something I haven't done much yet - spending a day on one genus.

Not many yet flowering at Cilmery

Of course it is difficult to say in any particular case whether a population is actually natively growing where it is and the preponderance of churchyards in the known sites can be seen two ways - maybe as sites that preserve the ancient flora of the area or maybe places where people have brought Daffodils in from the local woods in the past. Certainly nowadays garden centres and gardens have become a source for churchyard plantings as we saw only too clearly.
 Getting the close-up

But the populations of Narcissus pseudonarcissus were still there (and we found some new ones to record as well). Some have obvious significant variation with not all plants conforming to the keys and other are much more uniform. Again it is difficult to be sure why this is but certainly some locations seemed to have Daffodils such as N. macrolobus, Pale-flowered Daffodil which is similar to the native species and others had variation between the two.
Pale-flowered Daffodil or Narcissus macrolobus at Llanfilo

We also saw many clumps of clear garden origin, most of which we didn't try to identify but several species of the less-selected types turned up repeatedly such as a double form of N. pseudonarcissus as well as N. x monochromus, Reflexed Daffodil (probably a variety known as "February Gold") and Narcissus hispanicus, Spanish Daffodil.

Llandewi'r Cwm Church with Daffodils

Certainly a day of immersion in Daffodils and the Stace Key led to us having a better feel for the genus and what to look out for. We need more Daffodil spotters in Brecknock as I feel the number of sites with reasonably authentic N. pseudonarcissus is probably under-counted. We found it for instance at the small Ebenezer Chapel near Upper Chapel on the Epynt where I don't think is has been recorded before. It was also confirmed (and abundant including the area around) at Cilmery (the Church of St Cannen, Llanganten).

Daffodils at Ebenezer Chapel

Look out for smallish Daffodils (not the tiny Tete a Tete though) growing more individually (ie less clumped) with a long nearly parallel-sided corona that is darker than the petals (tepals to the purists). The true native plant holds its flower at best slightly above horizontally - and often drooping.
Daffodi, Cenhinen-Bedr wyllt or Narcissus pseudonarcissus at Llandewi'r Cwm Churchyard
and high above a lane very near Brecon.
A rather small remnant (?) population at Llanfilo under the Yew.

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