What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
–Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
Picture the flower: daffodil, jonquil, narcissus. If you are like most people, probably a particular flower comes to mind. However depending in which part of the country you grew up or lived, or even your age, the specific flowers associated with each of these terms may be different. This confusion, when using common names for plants, is why botanists classify plants using their Latin or scientific names.
So what exactly is the difference between a daffodil, a narcissus, and a jonquil? The simple answer, according to University of Illinois Extension specialist Jennifer Schultz Nelson, “is nothing, or “it depends.” All three terms are used as common names in many cases and used incorrectly. Narcissus is technically the only correct scientific name identifying the genus…
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