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Narcissus pseudonarcissus


N. pseudonarcissus - MHNT
N. pseudonarcissus, from Lady Wilkinson's Weeds and wild flowers 1858

Narcissus pseudonarcissus (commonly known as wild daffodil or Lent lily) is a perennial flowering plant.<ref>Linnaeus, Carl. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 289, Narcissus pseudonarcissus </ref><ref>Gray, Samuel Frederick. 1821. Natural Arrangement of British Plants, According to Their Relation to Each Other 2:191, as Ajax fenestralis</ref><ref>Jordan, Claude Thomas Alexis. 1903. Jord. & Fourr. Icon. Fl. Eur. iii. 2. as Ajax festinus</ref><ref>Pugsley, Herbert William. 1933. Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 1933, 58:72, as Narcissus gayi</ref><ref>Sell, Peter Derek. 1996. Flora of Great Britain and Ireland 5: 364, as Narcissus pseudonarcissus forma pleniflorus</ref><ref>Haworth, Adrian Hardy. 1831. Monog. Narciss. 4, as Oileus hexangularis</ref>

This species has pale yellow flowers, with a darker central trumpet. The long, narrow leaves are slightly greyish green in colour and rise from the base of the stem. The plant grows from a bulb. The flowers produce seeds, which when germinated, take five to seven years to produce a flowering plant. (Sexual [seed] reproduction mixes the traits of both parent flowers, so if garden hybrid cultivars are planted close to wild populations of Narcissus pseudonarcissus, there is a danger that the new seedlings, having hybrid vigour, could out-compete the wild plants.)<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>


The species is native to Western Europe from Spain and Portugal east to Germany and north to England and Wales. It is commonly grown in gardens and populations have become established in the Balkans, Australia, New Zealand, the Caucasus, Madeira, British Columbia, Ontario, Newfoundland, Oregon, Washington State, much of eastern United States, and the Falkland Islands. Wild plants grow in woods, grassland and on rocky ground. In Britain native populations have decreased substantially since the 19th century due to intensification of agriculture, clearance of woodland and uprooting of the bulbs for use in gardens. In Germany it was a subject of a national awareness campaign for the protection of wildflowers in 1981.

In England, the Farndale valley in the North York Moors National Park hosts a large population of the species, along the banks of the River Dove. There are several nature reserves in Gloucestershire supporting large populations of the species near Dymock Woods SSSI. There is a Daffodil Walk Trail around several reserves in the spring.<ref>2011, 'Nature Reserve Guide', Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust published for its 50th anniversary</ref><ref>'The Daffodil Trails', (undated), Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust</ref>



The history of N. pseudonarcissus has generated a large number of synonyms,<ref>The Plant List</ref> including:

Synonym list 
Ajax breviflos Haw.
Ajax cambricus Haw.
Ajax capax M.Roem.
Ajax cernuus Haw.
Ajax cuneifolius Haw.
Ajax fenestralis Gray
Ajax festalis (Salisb.) Salisb.
Ajax festinus Jord.
Ajax gayi Hénon
Ajax hexangularis (Haw.) Herb.
Ajax lobularis Haw.
Ajax montinus Jord.
Ajax multicus J.Gay
Ajax platylobus Jord.
Ajax porrigens Jord.
Ajax praelongus Jord.
Ajax pseudonarcissus (L.) Haw.
Ajax pygmaeus M.Roem.
Ajax radians M.Roem.
Ajax rudbeckii M.Roem.
Ajax sabiniamus Herb.
Ajax serratus (Haw.) Haw.
Ajax serratus var. suavis Haw.
Ajax sexangularis M.Roem.
Ajax telamonius Haw.
Ajax telamonius var. grandiplenus Haw.
Ajax telamonius var. plenus Haw.
Ganymedes cernuus Haw.
Narcissus ajax Sweet
Narcissus andersonii Sabine ex M.Roem.
Narcissus breviflos (Haw.) Steud.
Narcissus festalis Salisb.
Narcissus gayi (Hénon) Pugsley
Narcissus gayi var. praelongus (Jord.) Pugsley
Narcissus glaucus Hornem.
Narcissus horsfeldii Burb.
Narcissus luteus Bubani
Narcissus pisanus Pugsley
Narcissus radians Lapeyr.
Narcissus renaudii Bavoux.
Narcissus serratus Haw.
Narcissus sylvestris Lam.
Narcissus telamonius (Haw.) Link
Oileus hexangularis Haw.


There are a number of subspecies of the wild daffodil but the exact number varies according to different authors. The large number of cultivars adds to the difficulty of classification. Among the subspecies is the Tenby daffodil (N. pseudonarcissus ssp. obvallaris, sometimes classed as a separate species), which probably originated in cultivation but now grows wild in southwest Wales. Many of the subspecies listed below are currently considered as species by the Royal Horticultural Society, the International Cultivar Registration Authority for daffodils.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

  • ssp. pseudonarcissus - Lent lily, wild daffodil - England and Wales
  • ssp. bicolor (syn. N. bicolor L.)
  • ssp. calcicarpetanus Fernández Casas
  • ssp. eugeniae Template:Citation needed - Central Spain (syn. N. eugeniae Fernández Casas)
  • ssp. major - Spanish daffodil, great daffodil - Iberia (syn. N. hispanicus Gouan.)
  • ssp. moschatus (L.) Baker (syn. ssp. candidissimus Desf.; syn. N. moschatus L., N. alpestris Pugsley.)
  • ssp. munozii-garmendiae Fernández Casas
  • ssp. nevadensis - Iberia (syn. N. nevadensis Pugsley)
  • ssp. nobilis - (syn. N. nobilis (Haw.) Schult. & Schult.f.) large flower daffodil - Iberia. The largest floral diameter of Narcissus, at over 12.5 cmTemplate:Citation needed
  • ssp. obvallaris - Tenby daffodil - southern Wales (syn. N. obvallaris, Salisb., sometimes considered to be derived from relict cultivation of ssp. major [1])
  • ssp. pallidiflorus - pale flower daffodil - Spain and France
  • ssp. portensis - Iberia (syn. N. portensis Pugsley)
  • ssp. pugsleyanus Barra & López - Spain
  • ssp. radinganorum Template:Citation needed (syn. N. radinganorum Fernández Casas) - southeast Spain


Narcissus pseudonarcissus ssp. pseudonarcissus itself has eight varieties (described by H.W. Pugsley in an article in the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society of 1933), including var. festinus, var. humilis, var. insignis, var. minoriformis, var. montinus, var. platylobus and var. porrigens. The eighth variety described by Pugsley, var. pisanus, was further defined by A. Fernandes in the Daffodil and Tulip Year Book of 1968.

Double-flowered cultivars

Recent research in Wales, southwest England and northern France by keen horticulturists has discovered a small number of remarkably distinct, double-flowered specimens of N. pseudonarcissus growing among wild or naturalised populations of normal N. pseudonarcissus. Such rare forms were known to exist as long ago as the late 16th and early 17th century by botanists and herbalists such as John Gerard and John Parkinson, who variously described them as "Pseudonarcissus Anglicus flore pleno", "Gerrards double Daffodill" and later "The English Double Daffodil". Bulbs have been collected with the landowners' permission and it is hoped that some of these unusual cultivars may become commercially available in future.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>


The daffodil is the national flower of Wales, and also the county flower of Gloucestershire.<ref>Plantlife website County Flowers page Template:Webarchive</ref>

Health risks

Like all Narcissus species, daffodils contain the alkaloid poison lycorine, mostly in the bulb, but also in the leaves.<ref>Food and nutrition Daffodil dinner David Trinklein, Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri, Accessed March 2008</ref><ref name="Pupils ill after bulb put in soup">Template:Cite news</ref> Because of this, daffodil bulbs and leaves should never be eaten.



Further reading

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External links

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