Daffodils would do great there, I'm pretty sure. I have some in my woods, and I didn't plant them there. They do fine because it's a deciduous woods, so no shade in late winter when they emerge, and barely any shade during flowering. Also, the undergrowth doesn't seem to be a problem unless it's taller than the daffodil plants, and leafs out before the daffys are done yellowing.
I find that daffodils will often live in even really bad conditions, but just don't spread that much. Here's a bullet list:
- Your soil type sounds ideal.
- The forest sounds like it has a healthy canopy, which discourages huge wild invasives, which is good for daffodils.
- As kevinsky said, daffodils are poisonous to deer; they won't get eaten.
- The aralia shouldn't be a problem, as the daffodils go root dormant from yellowing until late the next winter, so the aralia roots shouldn't harm them at all. A little overlap between the end of the daffs and the fist aralia growth isn't a big deal.
- The daffodils should behave in this setting; not spread super fast and get out of hand.
- I think of most of the spring flowering bulbs, this one is the best.
Here are some varieties that I've found to be good colonisers in that setting:
- Ice Follies - tall, wide flower, white with pale yellow trumpet. By far the most resilient one in my area. These will grow anywhere.
- Quail - shorter and earlier
- Mount Hood - a trumpet daffodil. Likes more sun, plant in the bright spots
- Tête-á-Tête - very short and early - doesn't handle much underbrush because of it's small size, but usually finishes early before other plants get going
- Juanita - tall, yellow with orange/coral trumpet
- Carlton - tall, all yellow. Not as big or showy as Mount Hood, but a bit more adaptable. Tolerates clay well.
- Salome - tall, white with salmon/pink trumpet. Shade enhances trumpet color by reducing fading sun exposure.
- Early Sensation - mid-height. Stocky. Large flowers earlier than most others. Very nice big trumpet.