Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – March Flowers

My life in appalachia march flowers

The March flowers finally decided to show their lovely bright faces around my house. Seems like they are later than usual this year.

“March flowers” is a very old Appalachian term used to describe the flowers. Granny calls them Jonquils-I call them Daffodils. I’ve also heard the flower called an Easter lily.

What do you call them?


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



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  • Reply
    March 22, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    My Dad says his mom (my grandmother) called them “March Pinks.” Not sure why, but I did some digging and there was a 17th c. Scottish Jacobite ballad called “Lesley’s March to Scotland” which begins “March, March, pinks of election…”. My grandmother was of Scottish descent, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the connection.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Ours came up in the past two weeks. We call them Daffodils, but we also have Narcissus which are similar in color and shape, yet are a different flower. One can often find the ruins of old homesteads while walking through woods in spring by the beds of Daffodils that stand where they once were, although there are wild ones too.
    To us Easter Lilies are the tall flowers with big showy white blooms. We use to get one for our mom each Easter, and we hid it behind my dresser in the corner of my bedroom so she wouldn’t find it. Why she didn’t smell it back there, I don’t know cause they really are quite fragrant.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    March 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm


  • Reply
    Bobby C
    March 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I’ve always called them March Flowers. My wife usually interchanges March Flowers and Jonquils and Daffodils. Because of our mild winter here in North GA, they started to poke their stems up in January, which is the earliest I can every remember. But they are still hanging around.
    This weekend I saw a photographer set up in a field where they were growing wild, taking what I guess to be Easter photos for several families.
    We live in my wife’s late Grandmother’s house and the sidewalk and drive is lined with them where she planted them years and years ago.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Tipper-I guess I lost the bet. Nobody else mentioned March Pinks.
    Please tell Bradley to check out

  • Reply
    Joe Penland
    March 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Growing up in Nashville, Tn I always heard them called “butter cups”. Here in E. Tn it is Jonquils.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    After 3 hours of getting my garden
    ready for the Tractor Man, Saturday, I almost stepped on some
    of those pretty Easter Flowers that grow wild at the ends of my
    footlog. I think they’re daisies.
    All I know is it won’t be long till mowing time around here. And
    I welcome the coming of Spring…Ken

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    I call them daffodils, but have heard them called jonquils. Sadly, March is too early for them this far north, but the crocus are glorious now.

  • Reply
    Tim Hassell
    March 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks Lisa! If you hadn’t mentioned the child’s game of holding the daffodil under somebody’s chin and asking if you like butter, I would have never remembered it again. Kids were just easier to entertain back then.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    March 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

    jonquils and they always meant spring was here at my grandmothers! My aunt has some that are transplanted from grandmothers house. As for daffodils, I learned last year that Ireland has Daffodil Day for cancer awareness – I’m going back tomorrow and am looking forward the to riot of blooms (but I’ll still be reading Blind Pig) xoxo

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    March 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

    My grandmother called them butter and eggs, also. I always liked that. Glad to see someone else had heard the name.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Narcissus, jonquil or daffodil it’s all the same. Usually just call them whatever at the time. So pretty and have been blooming here for a while.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Tim-thank you for the comment! Granny doesnt call them flags-but Ive heard lots of other ladies around here call them flags : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    March 11, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I always called them Daffodils, but frequently heard them called Jonquils.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I have always called them Easter Lilies. They grow in two locations here on the farm. The previous owner told me that’s where houses once stood before this one was built around 1920. I sure wish they would hurry up and bloom.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    March 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Around here some folks say jonquil and some say daffodil. I’ve heard that there’s actually supposed to be some subtle difference between the two but I don’t know what it is. Whatever you call ’em, we won’t be expecting to see any for a few weeks (about 25 degrees as I write this).

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I call them daffodils – and I have a nice size patch of them. Mine are not yellow, but shades of pink. I found them in a catalog a few years ago, planted them with wire mesh over them – similar to chicken wire – to keep my squirrel buddies from digging them up. I enjoy that patch each year – for how many more years I don’t know. They are highbreds and sometimes they exhaust themselves. I just love the spring bulbs.

  • Reply
    B F
    March 11, 2013 at 9:16 am

    to us they were “butter and eggs”

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 11, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Tipper–If memory serves me, and I’ve looked this up in the past, daffodils have a single flower to a stem while jonquils have multiple flowers. Also, jonquils are very “perfumey” while daffodils have little aroma. In the mountains, the terms seem to be used interchangeably, although that is not correct.
    To my way of thinking, when it comes to capturing not one but multiple visions in poetic fashion, it is difficult to beat the first lines of English romantic poet William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”:
    I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats high o’er vales and hills
    When all at once I saw a crowd
    a host, of gold daffodils
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
    If you haven’t noticed lonely clouds or dancing daffodils you’ve missed some of life’s simple and satisfying pleasures.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

    They are referred to here in the north asdaffodils —and they are sure a brightness of hope for spring—

  • Reply
    Chuck G
    March 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Daffodils seemed more common to me. Always added little surprises of color on those Cumberland Plateau hillsides in eastern KY. But to see the dramatic possibilities of that flower, you’d have to go to England or Cape Cod.

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    March 11, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Mother called them March Flowers and the Forsythia were Easter Bushes. I’m going to start calling my Daffodils “December Flowers”! This year some of them were up in December and the first ones bloomed the first week in January! The Forsythia is blooming now.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 8:54 am

    We grew up calling them buttercups. If you pick one and hold it under your chin, the yellow shines onto your skin. When we were little, we’d ask the question – ” Do you like butter”, then hold the flower under the person’s chin and when the yellow showed, say ” Yep, you do!”.
    I just love them, they’re sunshine and brighten up the area – a sure sign spring is on her way.
    Mama’s driveway is lined with them. So pretty.

  • Reply
    Janice McCall
    March 11, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Thanks again for the muchly anticipated goodie box!! I rarely win anything, so can’t wait to receive.
    I miss my north Alabama jonquils; they won’t grow in north central Florida, but my Aunt Bill’s St. Joseph’s lilies (an old, old version of amaryllis) are beginning to show there flowers.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    March 11, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Have heard them called both March lilies and Easter lilies. They have been trying to bloom around here for a couple of weeks. Cold snaps have been slowing them down. Heard a little spring frog chirping yesterday!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Aren’t you the lucky one. In my area they have not yet bloomed, and I get excited when the first Robin and the first Easter Lily appear.
    I am so fortunate, as I once had a dear neighbor who had a fabulous flower garden. When she was able she spent hours thinning out the bulbs and weeds, and she would dump this mix across the highway at the mailboxes. She has since passed, but the most glorious array of flowers bloom each year for several feet around my mailbox. These are mostly the Easter Lilies which seem to be a very hardy flower.
    We have numerous ghost towns and large areas where coal camps thrived in WV, as there was once the boom and bust of the coal and lumber industry. It has never become old to me seeing these Easter Lilies dotting a hillside or standing alone in some remote area where once a house stood. I would immediately conjure up an image of the planter who had made such an effort to bring beauty to her surroundings. I have been asked why I did not dig them up to plant in my yard. They are treasures of the past, and they are best left for others to see and enjoy. I call it stopping to smell the roses, well uhh maybe just view the Daffodils.

  • Reply
    Tim Hassell
    March 11, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I call them daffodils, Great Granny (Granny’s mother) called them jonquils and Grandpa and his family called them “cup and saucers”. In this area it is also common to hear them called “butter cups”.
    I can always count on them to be in bloom by Valentine’s Day. This year, the first one opened on January 28th, the earliest I remember in more than fifty years. Great Granny dug mine from her yard and gave them to me when I was just a little boy—-I’ve grown them ever since.
    We always called the hardy red amaryllis (Hippeastrum johnsonii) “Easter Lilies”.
    I’ll bet that Granny (yours) calls iris, “flags”——-Does she?

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    March 11, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Well Tipper, at my childhood home in the Cove those beautiful flowers were March Flowers as far as my Mama was concened. She did not have many but they were always welcomed ‘as the flowers in May’ were welcomed!
    Now I must have a thousand and maybe more than a hundred in bloom already. They seem to be ‘on time’ for our East Tennessee mountain temperatures. They can take two straight nights of freezing temperatures but the THIRD consecutive FREEZING NIGHT WILL TAKE THEM DOWN! That doesn’t happen very often but when it does you can bet it will be a late spring!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    March 11, 2013 at 7:32 am

    I call them “SPRING”! I have some that bloom early in February and on through March and April…I love these sweet smelling Jonquils, Daffodils of the Narcisus family…I’ve been wanting to get some petite ones to put around rocks near the walkway, but can’t get my “roundtoit” working that well in the fall.
    The forsynthia bloom a little earlier than the Daffodils but this year they are coming in a little later, but the forsynthia are ready to pop. I had crocus already bloom out and gone in February..
    With this warmer rain expected today, it was 60 this morning, I expect more than flowers will peep out of the ground…I also noticed the weeping willows are already showing green around here. Usually it is more toward the end of March…I don’t want to get my hopes up too much, ’cause one year we had a heavy wet snow on April 6 that pushed all the yellow down to the ground for a few hours until the sun came out the next morning.
    Thanks Tipper, have a warm day!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I’ve heard them called ‘Butter cups’ most of my life. When my wife sees one she wants to pick it and bring it inside. I keep saying, “Let it stay. It brings a drab landscape to life.”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 11, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Mommy called them March Pinks! I’ll bet she wasn’t the only one who did.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 11, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Spring is coming! I’ve mostly heard them called Jonquils. I have some peeping through the ground but they are not big enough to bloom yet.
    I am soooo ready for spring and warm weather! I’ve had enough of the cold dreary weather for one winter.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 11, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Around our place at Choestoe, we called the bush which we now know is Forsythia “March Flowers.” Jonquils we called “daffodils.” Although both usually bloomed in March, if we had enough warm days and nights, we did not call jonquls “March Flwoers.” I suppose that’s the difference between the mountains of North Georgia and nearby North Carolina–and what we considered the beautiful blossoms that heralded spring.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 11, 2013 at 7:08 am

    I love the daffodils bulbs showing their beautiful flowers in Spring.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    March 11, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Daffodils around these parts, and its so refreshing to see them after winters cold and snow. Mine have yet to bloom yet, but it looks like I’ll have plenty to put on quite a show.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 6:29 am

    My dad calls them Johnny-quills, and the white with bright yellow cups are Fried-Eggs.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 5:48 am

    I call them Jonquils. Momma used to say, “Son, when you see the Jonquils you know Spring is on the way.” I always think of her when I see the first one. You said it best when you said, “Lovely bright faces.”
    The other thing that comes to mind when I see the first one is Don McLean and his song “Vincent” that he wrote about Vincent Van Gogh and his painting “Starry Night.”
    “Shadows on the hills
    sketch the trees and the
    the daffodils
    Catch the breeze and the
    winter chills
    In colors on the snowy linen
    What a song and what a painting!

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    March 11, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Hello Tipper. my March Flower are a blooming. I also want to tell you the lenten rose you gave me bloomed for the first time this year, and it is beautiful.

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    March 11, 2013 at 4:15 am

    Good morning Tipper and gang,
    I have allways called them a Easter lily and they are beginning to bloom here too. The trees are beginning to bud out too. I hope went don’t get a late killing frost that wipes them out like last year. Have a great day.

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