December 8, 2006

Move over Paperwhites... Welcome to the other winter narcissus

Narcissus viridiflora, the rare green flowered Narcissis

Not all Narcissus are yellow or while, just as not all narcissus are spring blooming. This precious Narcissus had been on our wishlist for quite some time, and this is the first year that I have recieved a couple blossoms. The fragrance is strong, but not as intense as the Paperwhite, which I happen to love, the scent of this N. viridiflorus is more clove-like, but on a sunny day underglass, which is where one must grow this gem, it is quite noticible. It was how I discovered it to be in bloom, since the blossom blends in with all of the other green growing around it, I could have easily missed it. Again, dry in summer, moist and fast draining in the winter, cool greenhouse, under glass.

In North Africa in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to Turkey, to the mountains in Spain and Portugal, Narcissus start blooming in the Autumn. In these areas, the rains begin in early autumn, which triggers growth, along with the colder temperatures. These areas are also where one find Narcissus papyraceus, the species we know as Paperwhite narcissus. Paperwhites are more technically classified as Tazetta-type to those who collect and grow Narcussus, bot most of the fall blooming species belong to a lesser known group known as the hoop daffodils. narcissus bulbocodium is perhaps the most common of the hoop narcissus, which all tend to grow quite short, no taller than four or five inches in height, and bloom in early spring. Thier most notable feature is thier enlarged corona, the trumpet part of the blossom, and the petals are much smaller, if hadly visible at all.

Narcissus cantabricus

Now, as hoop narcissi go, the species forms are as taxonomically mumbled as one can imagine, but the blooming cycle helps me identify this one, since it is the first of the Hoop narcissi that are tender, and winter blooming, to bloom. Usually around November to Christmas. The scent is so sweet, like honey, without any of the muskyness one sometimes finds with paperwhites. I know, these bulbs speces are not for everyone, since first they are challenging to grow unless one can provide the perfect condidtions, like a cold greenhouse, frost free with bright sun and not too woar, during the day. But they sure are worth it when one can dedicate thirty or so species to a corner where they can basically be forgotten through the summer, except for repotting, and then watered throughout the cold winter. I love them all, and this year have added many new species to the collection of Narcissus that grow during the winter. Stay tuned for more shots as they progress.


  1. Would it be possible for me to have a copy of your image of Narcissus viridiflora to publish on my blog, to accompany a post describing my love of narcissus? Couldn't find an email to contact you . . .

  2. I've seen the narcissus viridiflora described many times but this is the first picture I've ever seen. What a beauty! Thanks for sharing this rare plant from your collection.


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