Daffodil Society of Minnesota

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Glossary of Daffodil Terms

Daffodils are botanically named narcissus. Some people call them “Jonquils,” but, technically, jonquil refers to only one specific type of daffodil (Division 7), not the whole family. “Paperwhites” (Division 8) are another type of daffodil sold for late fall indoor pot culture. Daffodil is the preferred term for the entire family.

Parts of the Daffodil Flower

Labeled Daffodil picture

Petals or Perianth is the flat or back-swept part of the flower, consisting of six parts.

Cup or Corona is the bowl or cup-shaped part of the flower.

The Rim is the outer edge of the cup.

The Eye is the inside center of the bowl or cup-shaped part of the flower, when looking at it from the front.

Division and Color Codes

Daffodils are grouped into 13 Divisions, indicated by a number 1-13. Each Division represents a different form and/or heritage from original wild species parents. See the American Daffodil Society for pictures and complete descriptions of each Division. Not all Divisions are equally hardy in Minnesota. Unless you can grow them inside, a couple of Divisions are not worth any of your money! See Gallery of Minnesota Daffodils.

Colors in daffodils are represented by a letter code:

W = white
Y = yellow
O = orange
P = pink
R = red
G = green.

The petal color is listed first, separated by a hyphen; then, the cup color is listed.

When more than one color is present, you start at the outer edge of the petals, naming three color zones toward the center; insert a hyphen, then starting with the eye and moving to the outer rim of the cup, you name three zones of color. See ‘Peggy's Gift’ 3 W-YYO on our Welcome page.

Note: Some colors do not develop until the daffodil has matured in your garden. For example, ‘Salome’ 2 W-PPY, opens with a bright all-yellow cup but the pink emerges after a few days. Also, there are regional variations in colors as well as variations based on our variable Spring weather from year to year.

The Division and Color Code of a given daffodil is part of its official registration with the Royal Horticultural Society in England. If you enter a daffodil flower show, you must use its registered Division and Color Code, regardless of how your daffodil looks this particular season!

Sizes of Daffodils

Daffodils come in three size groups:

Miniatures are the smallest and have their own separate classes in competition at daffodil shows. See the approved Miniatures list at American Daffodil Society.

Standards are the full-size flowers.

Intermediates are in-between Standards and Miniatures. While there are a couple of ribbons which can be won only by an Intermediate, all Intermediates can compete in the same classes as Standards. See the list of Intermediates at American Daffodil Society.

What’s in a Name?

Daffodil names come from people, places, history, literature and imaginations! The person who put the pollen from one variety onto another, the hybridizer, gets to name the new daffodil. Registration of the name and the daffodil’s description is highly encouraged. However, not everybody registers. And, some companies which market daffodils will make up names for marketing purposes, hiding the daffodil’s real name. This confuses everybody! See the Royal Horticultural Society’s website for a search of registered daffodils by name and by hybridizer.

Daffodils which have not been named are called Seedlings. Each hybridizer uses their own, unique numbering or code system to keep track of daffodils they’ve created. Seedlings can be entered in daffodil shows but must have the hybridizer’s name and number. Who knows, maybe the hybridizer will eventually register the Seedling and you will have one of the newest varieties in your garden!

Historic Daffodils

Historic daffodils are those registered or in commerce before 1940. While there are a couple of ribbons which can be won only by an Historic, all Historics can compete in the same classes as Standards. However, Historic Miniatures must still be on the approved Miniatures list to compete in Miniature classes.

Garden Award-Winning Daffodils

The American Daffodil Society selects daffodils for outstanding performance throughout most gardens in the United States. These daffodils must also have won major awards for perfection of form at daffodil shows. A complete list of the Wister Award daffodils and Pannill Award daffodils is available on the American Daffodil Society website under ADS References. Most of these daffodils will be excellent choices for your Minnesota gardens.

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©2005 Daffodil Society of Minnesota | Last Updated January 11, 2019 3:07 PM
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