52. Narcissus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 289. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 141. 1754.
Narcisse [from Greek Narkissos, mythological youth who fell in love with his own reflection and changed into a flower]
Gerald B. Straley† & Frederick H. Utech
Herbs perennial, scapose, from ovoid, tunicate bulbs. Leaves (1–)several; blade linear to ligulate, flat to semiterete, fleshy. Inflorescences umbellate in clusters of 2–20, or solitary, spathaceous; spathe 1-valved, enclosing buds, membranous or papery. Flowers pedicellate or sessile, erect or declinate, often fragrant; tepals 6, connate proximally, distinct and reflexed to ascending distally, yellow and/or white; perianth tube surmounted by a cupular to trumpetlike corona with margins often frilled; stamens 6, epitepalous, often of 2 lengths; filaments separate from corona; anthers basifixed; ovary inferior, 3-locular; style often exserted; stigma minutely 3-lobed. Fruits capsular, 3-locular, papery to leathery, dehiscence loculidical. Seeds numerous, subglobose, often with elaiosomes; testa black. x = 7, 11.
Species ca. 26 (5 in the flora): introduced; Europe, n Africa, Asia; introduced and naturalized elsewhere.
Narcissus species and especially a vast array of their natural hybrids and garden cultivars are among the most popular spring flowers (A. Huxley et al. 1992). Many species are extremely variable due to horticultural selection and naturalization. Besides the following species, many of the cultivars also may persist around old gardens, although they never fully naturalize.
All parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the bulb, due to phenanthridine alkaloids such as narcissine and lycorine (G. E. Burrows and R. J. Tyrl 2001).
Blanchard, J. W. 1990. Narcissus—A Guide to Wild Daffodils. Woking. Jefferson-Brown, M. J. 1991. Narcissus. Portland. Meyer, F. G. 1966. Narcissus species and wild hybrids. Amer. Hort. Mag. 45: 47–76.