Keith Kridler, Texas

Apologies to the list for the cow patties

June 6, 2008
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Category: General

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In case I offended anyone with this last dose of “Bull” postings I DO apologize but it was in response to several different posts over the years.
The New Zealand rabbits of course were in jest. Since Australia got credit for Erlicheer I was taking away their Kangaroo and giving credit to New Zealand! Imported game animals, fish, birds or escaped pets continue to have an impact on various countries but most of these pests do not affect our Daffodils or DO they??? Imported Rabbits and North American White Tailed Deer are severe pests in New Zealand thus that post. What about sheep, goats, pigs ETC. that were imported. Do they eat the imported non-native daffodils?
The post about daffodil seeds earlier being eaten and whether or not the various animals would digest the seeds or spread them was intriguing to me. HOW DID daffodils spread in the early pre history of mankind??
IF they were NOT edible to man or animals did early, semi nomadic humans dig up the bulbs and replant them near winter or summer camps or at ancient grave sites as we do in modern times??
Daffodil seeds are round and heavy and would seem to ONLY work their way down a steep slope. At best they could only go up hill the length of the daffodil seed stem it appears! HOW did they get up on the tops of some of those mountains in the FIRST place?? Most grazing animals avoid the fresh leaves, buds ETC. BUT seed stalks continue to grow higher up above the normal foliage until the ripe seeds fall out of the pod! Has anyone tested the amounts of alkaloids in ripe seed stalks to see if grazing animals would eat the ripe pods or if possibly the seeds themselves could even survive the trip through a digestive tract!
Pocket Gophers in the USA burrow underground and they will carry off the daffodils and may move them 10 to 20 feet to store them with other food which is mostly cut roots or other tubers. They won’t eat the daffodil bulbs but put them in storage dens for these rodents which are about 8 inches under the ground so the bulbs come up next season normally.
Cow Patties or animal manure is relatively high in nitrogen as are natural fertilizers. We often hear that we should avoid “high nitrogen” fertilizers for our daffodils. We often hear that we should only apply the fertilizers at a particular time. The photos of the patties were taken to show how an inch deep layer of fertilizer applied during random months of the year would or could affect the foliage of this one species of daffodils.
Besides I walked half a mile to get photos of the patch of Campernelle with the great looking dead tree in the background only to find the blooms all a week too late for good close up pictures….
Organic farmers are having a TERRIBLE time in the USA finding manures that do NOT contain various herbicide residues in the manure! Horses and their owners prefer weed free grass hay. MANY of the pre-emergent herbicides or post emergent herbicides are showing up in horse manure left over from these weed free herbicide treated hay fields! These manures are affecting the germination of seeds in gardens where Horse manure has been spread OR where old hay has been spread as a mulch! Same goes for Mushroom compost (horse manure) and cottonseed burr compost as this is defoliated in fall to aid harvesting.
Anyway Daffodils won’t survive in a closed canopy, deep dark forest. They won’t survive in a Tall Grass Prairie due to shading or the late spring/early summer hot grass fires would kill them back as these fires normally occur every 3-5 years. (Shaw Nature preserve in St. Louis for example where they are converting the property to tall native grasses and burning the grounds regularly is leaving spindly daffodil foliage and no blooms.) SO I am assuming daffodils co-existed in areas with natural short grass prairie type habitat or possibly with certain species of native grazing animals. Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas

5 responses to “Apologies to the list for the cow patties”

  1. Phyllis Hess says:

    No apologies needed. it was a fun thing during our daffodil down time. Phyllis

  2. John Beck says:

    The question about animals ingesting seed is intrigueing
    I know my goats prefer to drop fertilizer on the highest spots
    wonder if this has some value for the goats…

    >

  3. Sandy Casteel says:

    Hey everyone.

    Keith, don’t think you owe an apology.  I for one have thoroughly enjoyed the discourse brought about by the patties and the follow up mail.  How plants are distributed around the world and esp ethobotony facinate me.  Thanks for all your insights.
    And I have gotten to hear a humorous, witty side of ya’ll I’ve not heard before.

    Of course being from Oklahoma USA I have to mention that in our wonderful state we are not content to compete with one another in the usual sports; we have a good old cow chip throwing contest. 

    And on a personal note; my dad said that I got my freckles across my nose from standing too close to the splatters.8-)

    From “tornado alley”, peace to all.

    Sandy

    —-

  4. David Liedlich says:

    Keith;

    You have raised an interesting question – How did wild populations of daffodils spread?  Obviously, the toxin Lycorine (Narcissine) contained within the bulb and leaves of a daffodil works to protect against herbivory by plant eating animals.  I am guessing that the toxin is also present in the seeds.  If animals found daffodil seeds palatable and digestible, the seed would then be unable to later germinate.  Daffodil seeds are too heavy, and not adapted for wind dispersal.  Therefore falling on the ground in the vicinity of the parent plant is what is likely to happen.  Perhaps rainwater could then move the seed some distance to a suitable germination spot.  Other than that, I can’t think of a good seed dispersal mechanism for this plant.  So the question still remains …….how did the wild daffodils spread over long distances?

    Dave Liedlich
    Connecticut

  5. David Liedlich says:

    Keith;

    You have raised an interesting question – How did wild populations of daffodils spread?  Obviously, the toxin Lycorine (Narcissine) contained within the bulb and leaves of a daffodil works to protect against herbivory by plant eating animals.  I am guessing that the toxin is also present in the seeds.  If animals found daffodil seeds palatable and digestible, the seed would then be unable to later germinate.  Daffodil seeds are too heavy, and not adapted for wind dispersal.  Therefore falling on the ground in the vicinity of the parent plant is what is likely to happen.  Perhaps rainwater could then move the seed some distance to a suitable germination spot.  Other than that, I can’t think of a good seed dispersal mechanism for this plant.  So the question still remains …….how did the wild daffodils spread over long distances?

    Dave Liedlich
    Connecticut