Alex Cripps – Conservation Graduate Trainee
True wild daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) are incredibly important as they are the only daffodil species native to Britain. We need to ensure wild daffodils are cared for so people can enjoy them for generations to come. The North York Moors is renowned for these plants – Farndale is particularly famous for its population.
True wild daffodils can be recognised from the more showy garden varieties and hybrids by their altogether smaller, but perfectly formed, appearance. Wild daffodils have small, dainty flowers with characteristic pale yellow petals, with a golden yellow trumpet and narrow leaves. 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.
Keen blog followers will remember that wild daffodils in Rosedale were surveyed in Spring 2013. Rosedale is a neighbouring dale to Farndale. The distribution of wild daffodils was mapped to establish the full size and extent of the Rosedale wild daffodil population, providing a baseline survey for future monitoring work.
Wild daffodils were mainly recorded growing in wooded areas and along the water courses in Rosedale; the River Seven, Northdale Beck and Hartoft Beck, including various streams and springs that feed into these. Wild daffodils also seemed to be growing well along field boundaries, particularly those that were fenced off from stock but at the same time a number were also growing well in fields with stock. A lovely spring display of wild daffodils can always be seen at Rosedale Abbey churchyard.
This Spring I will be continuing to monitor the wild daffodils in Rosedale and this is where you come in!
The idea is to revisit some of the same areas surveyed last year in Rosedale to take fixed point photographs – where we take a photograph from exactly the same location looking in the same direction each year – to allow us to be able to compare the wild daffodil distribution and their flowering conditions over time. I will also be extending the survey for the first time into Hartoft (a small dale running off from Rosedale) where wild daffodils appear to be growing along Hartoft Beck. People are more than welcome to get involved.
If you would like to help monitor these beautiful wild flowers in Rosedale, or if you live in the Hartoft area and have wild daffodils on your land, I would love to hear from you. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the National Park Office on 01439 772700.
It should be particularly interesting to compare between the two survey years in Rosedale particularly as spring 2013 was so cold with a lot of snow and so far this winter has been so mild.