Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Appalachian Dialect

Appalachia Through My Eyes – I Say Daffodil Do You Say Jonquil?

I say Daffodil. Granny says Jonquil. An older lady I know says Easter flower. And my Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English says butter-cup or March Flower. What do you say? What did your Mother or Grandmother say?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Sandra Poore
    March 23, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Easter Lilies in my family. When I was a child the property right beside ours ( which was part of my grandparents place) was a very old homestead. As a matter of fact in my family it is still referred to as the Harvey Place you always knew where the old house many years gone from fire I think had stood. The Easter Lilies where like a blanket that laid out that would have been the yard. There was even a gap that made it look like a sidewalk up to the house from the road. I would say there was about an acre of Easter Lilies. As a child we loved picking them and the great aroma that came from them. We always picked large bouquets that we proudly gave to our school teachers. You knew when they bloomed nicer weather was here and planting time was right upon you !!!!!

  • Reply
    Dianna Hubbell
    March 19, 2020 at 4:07 am

    I grow up mainly up holler in Clay Co WV. Being a hillbilly, redneck, mountain mama whatever ppl outside of WV calls us!
    To everyone I knew they Easter Lilies.

    • Reply
      March 19, 2020 at 6:49 am

      Dianna-lots of folks here call them Easter lilies too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Maggie Roberts
    March 1, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    My mom always said jonquils, but I started daffodils after reading all those garden catalogs!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I call them daffodils, but I think when I was young they were called Easter Lilies. They are so pretty.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2011 at 3:36 am

    I heard them called “March Lilies” this week at the local middle school, much like Eva M.’s comment! Thanks to your post, I noticed immediately, whipped my head around to see who called them that and proceed to pry into orgins (why, who, and where) of the term.

  • Reply
    March 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Daffodils. They are to first to peep out in my yard. So sunny and bright!

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    March 14, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I call them daffodils, but Mother called them Easter flowers. (Forsythia was March Bush.)I have some of the old double ones Jim mentioned that Mother first planted over 50 years ago!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2011 at 10:08 am

    It’s Easter lillies where I come from. But I do like the way the word daffodil just kinda rolls off your tongue.
    Either way…..they make me smile!!!

  • Reply
    Amy Phillips
    March 14, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Ive never heard of Jonquils. Here in the north they are just daffodil’s. Buttercups(here) are little yellow flowers that grow in your yard.
    I did see that my daffodils are trying to peek out of the soil over the weekend. Im really looking forward to see some kind of plant life around here soon, I got the winter blues. Amy Jo

  • Reply
    March 14, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Daffs, daff-a-down-dillies, Jonquil, narcissus.
    Never buttercup, it is a dreaded weed here at the farm in the PNW, very invasive.
    And though we always have a vase full of them when Easter is early (not this year), Easter lilies from the growers, timed just right, that is what gets the bid for Easter flower, round here.

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    March 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I have always called them daffodils. Nice picture! Nana

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    We call them Easter Lilies her in the mountains of West Virginia.

    • Reply
      Marilyn Nutter
      March 24, 2019 at 4:53 pm

      I always called them Easter Lillies but my Gramma called them Just to. I’m in North Central West Virginia.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    March 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I say daffodils, my husband calls them Easter flowers, my mother calls them jonquils. I always thought buttercups were slighty different and a paler shade of yellow. Anybody else confused yet?
    Whatever they are, they’re beautiful and always lift my heart after a long winter!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I called them buttercups or Easter flowers for most of my life, then I moved to a place where the people called them daffodils and looked at me funny when I said buttercup.~sigh~

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    March 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I was always told that the solid yellow ones were daffodils and athe mixed colors were Jonquils. Easter flowers were the white lilies. Interesting to learn what other people called them, Barbara

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    March 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I say daffodils but I’ve heard jonquils and Easter flowers around here.

  • Reply
    mountain mama
    March 13, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    that’s funny…my gramdma used to call them jonquils too. she also loved blooming “naked ladies”, she’d make a joke out of it. i’m not sure what their horticulure name is but everytime i see a jonquil or naked lady i smile thinking of dear g-ma.

  • Reply
    Nancy~The Wife of a Dairyman
    March 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I called them ‘bulbs’ growing up but now that I know better, it’s daffodils:) Great blog!

  • Reply
    Alica @ Happily Married to the Cows
    March 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I’ve never heard them referred to by anything other than daffodils…but regardless, they’re one of my favorites. Probably because when we see them, winter is just about over! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve enjoyed visiting your blog!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Don’t know much about Easter
    flowers but they sure are a welcome sight. And we know Spring
    is nearby. I know them as
    daffodils or Easter Lillies…Ken

  • Reply
    Amy at Verde Farm
    March 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    So excited to have found your blog through Nancy at A Rural Journal! I am an appalachian girl from the coal fields of WV. I live in WV still but now in Huntington. One of my grandmothers called them daffodils and the other called them jonquils. How fun! Great blog-canโ€™t wait to read more.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I say jonquil because my mother and her mother did. both names are correct and i think it is what we were taught. they are beautiful no matter what we call them.mother had a yard full every spring

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

    My Grandmother called the large ones Buttercups and Jonquils…My Mother called them Jonquils..The small flowered yellow ones she called Daffodils…The white ones with many flowers on one stem and extremely fraqrant, we always called Narcissus.
    All the folks from the “Secret City” should remember the “Daffodil man”!
    In the 50’s he sold the flowers at Jackson Square.
    He sold one color, a small yellow Daffodil that grew in abundance on his land. My understanding was that the Daffodils had always been on his land..he loved them and thought everyone else would too..and they did! No blends, no whites, no large cupped, just little bunches of the simple small yellow Daffodils. I remember paying fifty cents and then later a dollar a bundle and happy to do so, buying them on my lunch break from work!..After his death his family continued selling the Daffodils, which made many of us happy! We always looked forward to the arrival of the “Daffodil Man”…a sure sign of Spring…and we loved him for bringing his love of Daffodils and a touch of Spring to us…

  • Reply
    Gary Greene
    March 13, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Daffodil’s but also Buttercups

  • Reply
    Inger Wiltz
    March 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I’m visiting after reading about your blog on Nancy’s blog. I call them daffodils. In Sweden, where I’m from, they are called Easter Lilies. — It was interesting to read about the last American WW1 veteran as well.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Daffodil! Although for some reason I remember hearing ‘daffadondilly’ at some point in my life. Don’t remember where or from who. Maybe it was in a movie? I love them though, and I LOVE the way they smell. I know they drive some people crazy, but I can’t wait to smell them in the spring. I know spring is finally here when I see them!

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    March 13, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Always called them daffodils but have heard them called jonquils. Like Teresa, buttercups were the little yellow flowers but we would hold them up to our chin and if your chin turned shiny from the reflection then you liked butter. Of course I LOVE butter!!
    Patty H.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 10:38 am

    My mother and grandmother always said jonquils.When I learned of daffodils through reading and media, I assumed they were two different flowers and deducted that in Tennessee we had jonquils and up north they had daffodils. Hmm…
    Anyway, I miss those sunny blooms,as well as the dogwoods, pussy-willows and irises.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Here in my part of central KY people call them March Lilies. I usually say Daffodil and I have not heard anyone around here refer to them as Jonquils. I got up extra early this morning to drive to “town” and photograph a hillside full of them.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Have always called them daffodils but have heard others call them jonquils. Am always glad to see them bloom cause winters about over.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 10:21 am

    When I was little, we called them buttercups or Easter lilies. I thought everyone that called them anything else was confused! Then I learned there was another flower more commonly called the Easter lily (the white one that churches use) so I changed my definition of what an Easter Lily was. I figured if the folks in church called the white ones Easter Lilies, then it must be true. I was about 10.
    Then, I learned that buttercups were the tiny yellow flowers that you would rub on your chin and if your chin turned yellow it meant you liked butter or that you would get married to your true love. I was about 12 when I stopped calling daffodils buttercups.
    I suppose this is why the dialect is disappearing. :o(
    But I still call the trunk of a car the “boot” like my mom’s family did. Never knew it was called anything else until I went to high school. I thought they were confused too and I vowed they would never make me change that. :o)

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 10:14 am

    We call them daffodils but sometimes it was buttercups. To me daffodils were always associated with Easter – that soon we were gonna have new dresses as bright as those daffodils! Crocuses meant spring was just around the corner!
    Tipper, I loved your comments about where all the daffodils bloom – that there was usually an old homeplace located there. I see many bunches of daffodils scattered all around here but never thought that they were there because someone once lived there – guess I just thought they grew wild. It is a wonderful thought to ponder on and now when I see a clump of daffodils – I’ll think about who planted them.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 13, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Tipper–I’ve always said (and heard) jonquils. If you check on the correct botanical usage it gets very complicated. Whatever you call the flowers in their many varieties of color (seems you never see the old-time double ones much anymore, but they are common around old home places in the Park) they are lovely and heartening harbingers of spring.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    March 13, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Well as I grew older I realized there were other names.. such as the ones you said in your writing. BUT I was brought up calling all of those type of flowers, Buttercups. Unless they were the ones a little bit different, sort of scrambled looking.. those were known as Butter and Eggs. Only when I was grown and people didn’t know what I was talking about did I find out that buttercups are not the name most know them by. My Mama died three years ago, that’s when I started calling them Buttercups again. That’s what she called them. So that is what they are. In my book anyway. Whatever their name, they show us their sunny faces and we know that warmer times are a-coming!

  • Reply
    J E
    March 13, 2011 at 10:00 am

    This doesn’t have anything about your post but is someting that needs to be passed on. Our last Doughboy has passed into the next world, we owe them a great dept.
    News Article
    Arlington Burial Planned for Last ‘Doughboy’ Frank Buckles
    By Jim Garamone
    American Forces Press Service
    WASHINGTON, March 11, 2011 – America will pay its respects to its last World War I veteran March 15, as former Army Cpl. Frank Buckles is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
    Buckles — the last of the more than 5 million Americans who served during World War I and were known as “doughboys” — died Feb. 22 at his home in West Virginia. He was 110.
    He will lie in honor at Arlington’s Memorial Amphitheater Chapel from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 15 for the public to pay its last respects. The interment will be at 4 p.m., and the corporal will be buried near the site where General of the Armies John “Black Jack” Pershing, the commander of the American Expeditionary Force, is buried.
    The Pentagon Channel will carry the service.
    Buckles was born in Missouri in 1901. He enlisted in the Army in 1917, shortly after the United States declared war on Germany and its allies. He served as an ambulance driver on the Western Front.
    In 1941, Buckles was in the Philippines, working in Manila, when Japan invaded the island nation. The Japanese captured him and confined him at the Los Banos prison with 2,200 other American civilians. U.S. forces liberated the camp in 1945.
    President Barack Obama has ordered that U.S. flags be flown at half staff in Buckles’ honor March 15.
    Two men in Great Britain are believed to be World War I’s last living veterans. Both are 110 years old.

  • Reply
    Eva Kroells
    March 13, 2011 at 9:58 am

    We over here in Germany call these flowers Osterglocken, that means easter bells.

  • Reply
    Nancy @ A Rural Journal
    March 13, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Daffodil. (My sister didn’t know that mums were chrysanthemums until I told her. Yikes.)

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph. D.
    March 13, 2011 at 9:49 am

    My mama always called the flowers MARCH FLOWERS! And according to my daddy, the flowers were NOT SUPPOSE to be picked and brought into the house! I don’t know if he knew the ‘deadly’ chemicals they contain – which prevents all varmints from eating them! But that never stopped mama from telling me to go pick a few march flowers! I loved it and that is probably why I am so into gardening and waiting for the march flowers!!!
    Now I must have a hundred different kinds of ‘march flowers’ throughout my gardens! You know there are hundreds of different kinds today! Going to a ‘march flower’ garden show is delightful! There is one at the University of Tennessee Gardens which I try to go to often! My friend JUDGES in the flower show! Plus SHE IS WHY I HAVE SO MANY DIFFERENT KINDS IN MY GARDENS NOW!!!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 13, 2011 at 9:18 am

    daffodils, I had no idea that jonquils were the same flower. Coming from FL, we only get to read about them or see pictures. So happy to have my cabin where I planted all sorts of bulbs we are headed there next week for 10 days, can’t wait!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 9:02 am

    My mother never called them anything but Easter flowers. I still call them that today, too. There is a field full of them where my Mom and Dad used to live or where I call the homeplace. My older sister still lives there. I think of my Mom every year when they start to bloom.
    I am enjoying your music so much this Sunday morning. My dad used to get up on Sunday mornings and listen to Renfro Valley, so we always had music in the house early on Sundays!

  • Reply
    Sandy Barnett
    March 13, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Your post on this subject made me smile…I was just thinking about both words just recently to describe these signs of Spring:) I’ve often wondered what the difference was…my Mother called them daffodils & jonquils. I’ve never heard them called buttercups tho. Whatever we call them, their a welcome break of what always seems like a long winter! Thanks for sharing Tipper!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Our older neighbors here in Missouri, and my classmates called them “Easter flowers of Easter Lilies”, My grandmother nad great grandmother, products of the prairies of Kansas and Nebraska called them “jonquils”. I look for them in Spring, My late mother in law from Arkansas, called them buttercups too. My story about them, from a few days ago:

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 6:02 am

    When my parents built their house in 1952, my mama was given flowers from her aunts. They still bloom each spring. Mama calls them Daffodils, Daddy calls the little ones Johnny-quills and the bigger ones Buttercups. And occassionally he brings one into the kitchen and calls it a Fried Egg!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Momma called them Jonquils. She would always say, “Son, cheer up, when you see the Jonquils, you will know the long cold winter is almost past.”

  • Reply
    March 13, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Your daffodils are gorgeous! My grandmother used to say roses and she had a beautiful rose garden which she meticulously took care of by herself.My mother loves jasmine and I’m crazy about cyclamen which grows a lot in our mountains but I also love orchids and gardenias.

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