Spring is in full swing and this is the time of the year that plants begin to bud and flower, so what better time to venture out and see nature. The landscape is being dotted with the bright yellow daffodils, but are they really daffodils or maybe jonquils. All my life I have heard those pretty spring yellow flowers called daffodils, jonquils, or buttercups. After some research I have found there are some differences.

The daffodils as well as all the other namesakes do fall into the same genus Narcissus, however this is where it may be confusing because the Narcissus is actually the miniature white blooms or fondly called “paperwhites”. Daffodil is the common name for all the flowers that fall into the genus and most do correctly call the large trumpet shaped flower a daffodil but the defining difference is it has a single blossom and flat strappy leaves

Jonquils do refer to a specific type of daffodil but once again the name daffodil does land on this plant. The way to identified the difference between the two will be the jonquil has dark green tube leaves and instead of the one bloom they have clusters of several flowers that give off a strong scent. If by chance you are totally confused, come out to the Nature Center and you will see daffodils blooming.

To be totally incorrect would be to call the daffodil a buttercup. The Buttercup is a different flower with the genus name Ranunculus and is a herbaceous perennial that has small yellow or white flowers with five separate petals. Buttercups also flower in the spring but some may continue throughout the summer.

Along the Nature Center trails you may see trillum which is a least known springtime flower This plant comes from a tubular bulb and most will have a non scented white flower that comes out of three leaves. This plant usually tends to be a favorite food for deer and is found in the forest and woods. The trails at the Nature Center will showcase the purple prairie trillium and being a small perennial it is difficult to spot. The prairie trillium will bloom 3 to 4 weeks and after the third week seed berries will replace the flower. Joe Ford knew which wild flowers to plant in order to have a thriving colorful nature trail, plus these berries from the trillum provides a food source for certain wildlife.

Over the years past volunteers worked diligently to create wildflower gardens at the entrance of the park and near the main entrance to the Nature Center building. It is a welcoming sight to see the flowers blooming to create a colorful landscape. As with all wildflowers at some point not only is it appealing to the human but these plants become a food source for wildlife as well as beneficial for pollinators. Think of nature as a manufacturing assembly line. The plant blooms, provides food, generates seeds and replenishes the earth for the next flowering season. Taking that thought a step more. The food provided continues into another assembly line of creation as one animal eats then they too could be a food source for other wildlife, but if it’s a pollinator well that opens up a whole new circle of life.

The Joe Ford Nature Center doesn’t want the knowledge or protection of nature to end. As we continue with Joe’s legacy, monetary funding or visiting during our events helps tremendously. None of this can be possible without the community becoming a supporter of the circle of life and this nature adventure.

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