Narcissus, the common as well as the botanical name of a genus of popular garden flowers belonging to the amaryllis family, and consists of bulbous-rooted plants, with flat or channeled, linear leaves, an often compressed or angular scape or flower stalk, at the top of which is a spathe, which bursts at one side and liberates one to several flowers. The tube of the calyx and corolla together (perianth) is prolonged above the ovary, with six equal spreading divisions. Six stamens of unequal length, included in a cup-shaped or tubular white or colored crown, which springs from the corolla-tube at their base with a three-celled ovary, a simple style and an obtuse stigma.
Then famous species of narcissus are jonquil, daffodil and tazetta. Polyanthus narcissus the most prized one is a form of tazetta.
Narcissus species :
Narcissus Bulbocodium :
It is also known as Hoop Petticoat. One of the commonest in cultivation, and almost universally known. It is about 4 to 8 inches high, single flowered and flowers not drooping, with a very short pedicel within the spathe, perianth gradually widening from the base upwards. Flowers bright yellow, appearing in April or May. A native of Southern Europe and North Africa.
Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus :
Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus is commonly known as Daffodil, Daffodil Narcissus or Lent Lily. It is usually about a foot high with a flat scape, it has yellow flowers and is is always 1-flowered, with the crown of a darker tint. This is a common European plant from Sweden to the Mediterranean.
This forms the genus Ajax of Haworth, and is readily divided into five tolerably distinct forms.
- The ordinary Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus.
- Narcissus major larger in all its parts than the preceding, with all parts of the flower uniform in colour. Both of these are very commonly seen double.
- Narcissus minor, very much smaller than the type, with the leaves shorter than the scape, flowers uniform in colour.
- Narcissus bicolor, resembling the type in size, but with the crown of a bright yellow, and the divisions of the limb pale sulphur-yellow. It also flowers later than the other varieties.
- Narcissus moschatus is a uniform coloured variety with large or medium flowers of a very pale yellow, becoming almost white.
Narcissus Tazetta :
This is the commonest of the several-flowered Daffodils, and is very prolific in forms. It is found in a wild state from the South of Europe, through Syria and North India, to China and Japan. It blooms in March or April, and has flattened scape, with fragrant flowers.
The forms of the species are arranged in three series according to thier characteristics as follows :
- Segments of the limb white, with yellow crown which includes Narcissus lacticolor, Narcissus polyanthus, Narcissus Mediterraneus and Narcissus ochro-leucus.
- Crown and segments of the limb both pure white, it includes Narcissus papyraceus and Narcissus Panizzianus.
- Crown and segments of the limb both yellow; contains Narcissus Italicus, Narcissus aureus, and Narcissus chrysanthus.
Narcissus Jonquilla or Jonquil :
It is commonly known as Jonquil, a native of the Mediterranean region. It has been confounded with Narcissus juncifolius, but it is much more robust in habit, with larger more numerous flowers, and a crown considerably shorter in proportion to the limb. The flowers are invariably of a beautiful bright yellow, and very fragrant. It is often seen with double flowers.
Narcissus Poeticus :
It is from the South of Europe, and one of the prettiest species of the genus, also called as Poet’s or Pheasant’s Eye Narcissus or Daffodil, the flowers being pure white with a scarlet border to the crown. The double form of this lovely species is a very useful one, being as fragrant as a Gardenia, and not inferior to that flower in shape, and at the same time more durable, being less liable also to become discoloured than it. It is one of the best cut-flowers of its season.
Narcissus Triandrus :
It is a native of Spain, and there have been several varieties in cultivation, though they are rare now.
Narcissus Poculiformis or Narcissus montanus :
This has not been found growing wild, and is generally supposed to be a garden form, resulting from a cross between Narcissus dubius and Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus variety moschatus. It is perhaps better known as Narcissus montanus. The flowers are pure white, drooping, and sweet-scented, appearing in April.
Narcissus Macleaii :
Also of garden origin, resembling the bi-color variety of Pseudo-Narcissus, but with a smaller crown.
Narcissus Incomparabilis :
A native of Southern Europe, common in gardens, with two principal varieties. It is about the same size as the common Daffodil, but the crown is always shorter than in that species, even in the double flowers. Narcissus aurantius, including Narcissus Gouani, is a robust variety with the crown orange, and the divisions of the perianth sulphur-yellow. Double-flowered forms are the Nonpareils and Butter-and-Eggs of English gardens. Narcissus albus, with paler divisions and an orange crown, produces a double form known as the Orange Phoenix.
Narcissus Odorus :
It is a very distinct species approaching the typical Narcissus incomparabilis, but differing in its leaves being very concave, flowers bright yellow, very fragrant and rarely solitary. A native of the South of Europe.
Narcissus Juncifolius :
It is a very small plant with terete leaves and bright yellow flowers, from the South of Europe. It blooms in April.
Narcissus Dubius :
It is similar to the last, but having pure white flowers, not known in English gardens.
Narcissus Gracilis :
Its plant is about a foot high with sub-terete leaves and yellowish or nearly white flowers, well known in cultivation, and supposed to be of hybrid origin.
Narcissus Intermedius :
It is a native of Spain and the South of France. It has the same cup-shaped crown as the last two, differing from Tazetta in its sub-terete leaves, and from gracilis in its smaller flowers.
Narcissus Pachybolbos :
It comes from Algeria, but does not appear to be in cultivation.
Narcissus Biflorus :
A very common species with white flowers, having a yellow rim to the crown. It is often met with in a wild state in England and on the Continent.
Narcissus Viridiflorus :
It is a native of Spain and Bar-bary, having greenish flowers.
Narcissus Broussonettii :
It is a rare plant from Mogadore, in which the crown is very slightly developed. It is not in cultivation.
Narcissus Calathinus :
It is very distinct, but is rarely seen in cultivation.
Narcissus Elegans :
It is a rare species not in cultivation
Narcissus Serotinus :
It is a rare known species not in cultivation
Soil for narcissus planting :
They succeed very well in any good, light, rich earth, in a sheltered situation and eastern aspect, with the beds a little elevated above the common level; and in winter and early in spring give occasional shelter of mats from frosts and inclement weather, especially after the flower buds appear above ground.
How to plant Narcissus :
Narcissus seeds planted often take six or seven years before the seedlings will flower in perfection. The seed ripens in June or July, which sow soon after in pots or boxes of light rich earth, half an inch deep, then place them in a full sunny situation for the winter, allowing them shelter in severe frosts. In March or April they will come up. Give frequently sprinklings of water, and, occasional shade from the midday sun at their first appearance; and as the warm season advances, move the pots to an eastern aspect, to have only the morning sun till ten or eleven o’clock. In June or July the leaves will decay, then stir the surface lightly, and clear off the decayed leaves and all weeds, and mossiness, then sift a little fine mold over the surface, half an inch thick, repeating it in October. Let them remain till the third year, treating similarly; and in the third summer, at the decay of the leaves, take up the bulbs, and separate the largest, which plant in beds, in rows, five or six inches asunder and three inches deep, and the small bulbs you may scatter, mold and all, on the surface of another bed, and cover them two or three inches deep with fine earth, which after a year’s growth may be transplanted in rows as above. In these beds let the seedlings remain till they show flowers, and after the second year’s bloom you will be able to judge of their properties, when mark the good sorts, and manage them as directed for the blowing roots.
The best general season for planting all these bulbs is in autumn, from about the beginning or middle of September until November: they will flower considerably stronger, as well as furnish a greater increase of offsets than those planted later, or not till spring; if, however, some roots are retained out of ground until February, they will succeed those of the autumnal planting in flowering. Those in the open borders should be deposited in little patches of about three or four roots in each, planting them either with a blunt dibble, or with a garden trowel, four inches deep. When planted in beds by themselves, have the beds four feet wide, with alleys, a foot and a half or two feet wide, between, plant the roots in rows lengthwise, nine inches asunder, about four inches deep, and six distant in each row, covering them regularly with the earth, and rake the surface smoothly. Having planted the roots in either of these methods, all the culture they require is to be kept clean from weeds; and they will all flower in the following spring and summer.
It can also be planted in pots by planting the bulbs in pots of light rich earth during August, and place in a warm room; they will bloom about November.