Daffodils Mean Spring is Coming
You really know when spring is around the corner when you see green sprouts poking out of the ground and growing into colorful daffodils. Traditional enthusiasts categorize daffodils into a classification system known as divisions or types—all daffodils are classified into one of 13 divisions based on distinct characteristics. They possess a unique floral organ not found in most plants: the corona, which forms the cup of the flower. This organ is similar to a petal, but is only found in daffodils, passion flowers, amaryllis, and lilies.
Daffodils are one of the five perennial plant collections present in the Park. The most common colors found are yellow and white, except in the Park, we showcase white, green, and pink-colored daffodils, as well as double and miniature flowering cultivars. There are about 40 cultivars currently growing in the Park that spread through every garden bed. You can often spot large clusters of these flowers growing under some of our larger trees, a site most plants are unsuited for but which the early growing daffodils love.
Like all spring-flowering bulbs, the narcissus requires a long cold period in order to bloom. During the winter, the cold stimulates the bulb to produce the iconic flowers that grace many gardens come early spring. In the absence of this cold period, daffodils will not bloom, instead sending up only foliage, a condition dubbed “blindness.” The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created a map of temperature zones used for gardening. New York City is in Zone 7B at the border of where bulbs need to be pre chilled. As our climate warms, this collection may no longer bloom each spring at Madison Square Park.