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What Is the Difference Between a Jonquil & a Daffodil?

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Daffodils and jonquils are flowers that come from bulbs. They are spring-blooming plants that have similar characteristics and appearances. They are both in the genus Narcissus and provide a sunny yellow presence in the flower garden. The Narcissus are separated into 13 divisions with at least 13,000 hybrids. There are a few visible characteristics that identify which flower you are growing.


The daffodil and jonquil are in the same genus but a different family. Although they appear to be the same, botanists have separated them due to some minor physical characteristics. The 13 divisions are an attempt to classify the bulbs according to size, color, growth habit and other attributes. The last division describes wild species and the first 12 are the cultivated species The jonquils are in Division 7 and have some species in Division 13. Jonquils and daffodils are in the same family but different divisions and are both poisonous if eaten. There is some discrepancy about how many species there are in the divisions.

Leaves and Stems

A major difference between daffodils and jonquils is the leaves. The jonquil has a thin round leaf. The foliage is slender, hollow and looks like an aquatic reed. Daffodils have wider flat leaves. There is a very small group of jonquil in the subgroup "Narcissus jonquilla." The stems are rounded, too, and have multiple flowers. The flowers of jonquils are usually lower growing to 16 inches than daffodils and the stems aren't as rigid.


Daffodils tend to compose the larger flowering varieties of Narcissus. The jonquils are smaller and have a strong scent. The length of the corolla is another identifying characteristic and is an important distinction in the divisions. The corolla is at the center of the flower and is tube-like structure. The corolla comes in white, yellow and peach. Jonquils only have yellow corollas while daffodils can come in any of the hues. The corolla of jonquils is smaller, only one-fourth as long as the petals.


Jonquils are a Southern flower for the most part. They naturalize just as daffodils do and provide even larger clusters over the years. In the south there can be found all over and prefer warm summers and wet winters. The United States Department of Agriculture zone 8 has a predominance of jonquil as opposed to the daffodil, although both will grow in the area. Jonquils are native to Spain and Portugal and are not as commonly found as the daffodil bulb.

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