Narcissus the Daffodils

There are 60 or so wild species of Narcissus, with more than 10,000 named cultivars, however most peoples idea of the Daffodil is Narcissus psudonarcissus the wild daffodil, however some of the other species of Narcissus are excuisite and a lot less 'blousey' than some of the modern cultivars.

Narcissus bulbicodium.Native to central Spain but readily available as either bulb or growing plant.

Narcissus cyclamenoides

Narcissus romieuxii

Shown here planted as an accent plant

Most species of wild daffodil are found in the Iberian peninsular (Spain and Portugal), with some in North Africa, specificly Morocco.

The Tazetta, or Bunch-flowered Daffodils have multiple flowers on the same stem, unlike an other narcissus. Tazettas are distributed around the coasts of the Mediterranean and even into China. However, as they appear to follow the ancient trade routes, they may have been introduced by man. Poeticus daffodils are found in Northern Spain and northwards in mainland Europe to Poland and to Hungary in the east. Pseudonarcissus are even found in the british Isles but, again, there is speculation that they were introduced by the Romans.


When bulbs reach 2 or 3 years old, they're surrounded by offsets which can be separated at the base, removeing them as soon as the leaves have died down. The offsets can be planted at once or can be stored in a dry environment until planting in autumn.

Narcissi species are not usually (but can be) grown from seed as cross-pollenation can result in hybreds.

One of the major parasites of Narcissus is the Stem nematode, a tiny, thread-like, transparent and barely visible worm-like pest which is less than 1.3 mm long. A mass of dormant nematodes may be seen as a glistening off-white 'wool' on, or under, the surface layers of infested bulbs. It mainly attacks narcissus and tulip, although other bulbs and corms may also be affected.

The name Narcissus comes from a mythical Greek youth who on seeing his reflection in the water fell in love with it.

"Daffodils" (1804)

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

Allen. C. Roffey 13:57 13/01/2008