Wild daffodils

Have you seen carpets of wild daffodils in Rosedale? If so, the North York Moors National Park Authority would like to hear from you.

The wild Farndale daffodils in the National Park are well-known but there is also an impressive display of wild daffodils in Rosedale.

The Authority is keen to establish just how big the Rosedale daffodil population is – and the size of any other well-populated sites.

The Narcissus pseudonarcissus is extremely important as it is the only wild daffodil species native to Britain.

However, garden daffodils are making their way into the countryside and there is the risk that they will hybridise with the wild daffodils. The wild daffodil is distinct from introduced non-native species, including the naturalised Tenby Daffodil.

True wild daffodils can be recognised from the more showy garden varieties and hybrids by their altogether smaller, but perfectly formed, appearance. It is still a sizable wildflower that grows in groups creating striking carpets of colour in early spring.

Wild daffodils grow mainly in partial shade in habitats such as woodlands, on riverbanks or in fields and grassland with clay or loam soils which are not too acidic. These habitats are abundant in Rosedale which is why the daffodils are growing there.

Between March and June the leaves absorb light energy in photosynthesis. Energy is stored in the bulb throughout the winter, enabling the plant to flower in early spring when light levels are still low.

Wild Daffodils have two methods of regeneration, first by the production of seed and second through the development of bulblets around the parent bulb. Having two methods of regeneration is important as it gives the daffodils more chance of increasing their numbers.

In March-April the daffodils would ordinarily be pollinated by insects such as bumblebees, small flies and beetles resulting in the production of seeds. However if the spring weather is cold, and there are few insects around to pollinate the flowers, the daffodils then have a second chance to regenerate by growing bulblets.

Monitoring of the Rosedale daffodils is simple. The National Park wants to categorise how densely the daffodils are growing, note how successful their flowering is and, by using photographs taken from the same key areas each year, look at the success of the Rosedale daffodils.

If you are walking in Rosedale in the spring months, are a keen photographer or a Rosedale resident with wild daffodils on your land and you would like to get involved in surveying the Rosedale daffodil population this year, contact Alex Cripps at a.cripps@northyorkmoors.org.uk or telephone 01439 772700.

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