Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Tenby Daffodil

The jury is still out on whether the Tenby Daffodil is naturalised or introduced. The only other true British native daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, also found mainly in south Wales is known as the Lent Lily because it flowers through February, March and sometimes early April therefore over the period of lent.

The little Tenby Daffodil, just 8"(20cm) tall, is so called because it is mostly found growing wild around the Tenby area. It can also be found in other areas of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion but is scarce.

A version of the Tenby Daffodil has been cultivated since medieval times and the Royal Horticultural Society have now given it their prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in recognition of its outstanding excellence.

The origin of daffodils and leeks being used as national emblems of Wales is obscure but in Welsh the names for daffodil and leek are very similar. Daffodil - Cenhinen Pedr, Leek - Cenhinen so maybe it was just confusion.

 Since the 6th C Welsh soldiers have worn a leek in their caps to distinguish themselves from their foes in battle. Welsh soldiers today still have cap badges and buttons with leeks on. It is believed that the English government encouraged the use of the daffodil as a national emblem because it has less nationalistic undertones associated with defeat of the saxons.

The daffodil certainly became more popular during the 19th C and particularly during the 20th C when the Prime minister of the time, Lloyd George, wore a daffodil on St Davids Day for the investiture of the then Prince of Wales.

Whatever its origins there are few flowers that herald the coming of spring in quite such a flamboyant, colourful and cheery way. When you visit Wales be sure to call in at a local garden centre and buy yourself a bag of Spring to take home with you.

Photos of Tenby Daffodils on Penally Village Green by Sue Brindley
Click here to visit the Daffodil Society.

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