(Editor's note: Though Laura isn't from LI, she helped me sort out my own daffodil dilemma.)
They may not be invasive, but daffodils have been highly manipulated by breeders for the color, size and shape of the flowers and have lost the characteristic fragrance, pollen and nectar that draws insects to them. You might find a stray European honeybee or even a hungry native bee on a late blooming daffodil, but they aren't magnets for native pollinators the way native flowers are. The general rule that flowers most attractive to humans are not the most attractive to pollinators seems to fit. Daffodils offer even less value here in Georgia because they also bloom before most pollinators are out and about,
I’m a bit of a native plant purist and don’t think non-native daffodils should be planted in wild areas like parks, but I also don’t consider daffodils weeds the way I do early blooming hellebores which are evergreen, displace native plants in my yard and I predict will eventually become invasive .
On balance, daffodils are neutral additions to my yard:
- Daffodils bloom before any of my spring native plants
- Daffodils disappear by the time the native plants need the space they occupy
- Daffodils are not particularly helpful to my ecosystem, but also aren’t harmful or invasive
- Daffodils winning quality for me is they bring goodwill for my unique naturalized landscape choices in a neighborhood of obsessively manicured monoculture lawns