BULGARIA'S SEA DAFFODILS

by Dimana Trankova; photography by Anthony Georgieff

Delicate flower blossoms over southern Black Sea dunes

sea daffodils

Some of the sand dunes along the southern Black Sea coast that have not yet been overbuilt with hotels and resorts are the home of a fine and very delicate wildflower, the sea daffodil. In fact, the southern Black Sea coast is the only location in this country where you can see sea daffodils in their natural environment. Some of the bigger colonies are near the beaches of Silistar, Tsarevo, Kiten and Primorsko. In the Ropotamo nature reserve they are a-plenty, and at the Kavatsite Beach, especially its southern reaches formerly known as Veselie, there are so many sea daffodils that the area has been declared a Sea Daffodil reserve.

The sea daffodil is a bulbous perennial that can grow up to 40-60 cm in height. Each plant grows up to 15 flowers whose coronas are two-thirds as the tepals. What makes the sea daffodil so special is the scent: a very delicate, sweet and pleasing whiff of lilies that can only be felt on windless summer nights.

sea daffodils

The sea daffodil is a rarity in Bulgaria but grows all over the Mediterranean. A similar plant called the sand lily grows across much of the open montane forests, dry grasslands and sagebrush deserts of the western United States.

Unfortunately, the sea daffodil is threatened with extinction from the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Many visitors not only pick up the tiny wildflowers but also encourage their kids to do so. The Sea Daffodil reserve is unfenced and unguarded. Makeshift bars and cafés, by now an usual sight along the Black Sea coast, are an additional threat. Sea daffodils, like many other wildflowers, are difficult if not impossible to cultivate, so there would be no way to regenerate the their colonies.

If you want to see one of the most fascinating Bulgarian flowers where it grows, you should be in a hurry. 

sea daffodils

 

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