Narcissus poeticus L.

Poet's Narcissus


CC = *
CW = 5
MOC = 11

© DETenaglia

Family - Liliaceae

Habit - Perennial forb from a bulb.

Stems - Erect, to 40 cm, unbranched, somwehat flattened, glabrous, with several bladeless sheaths in addition to the foliage leaves.

Leaves - Basal, linear, flat, 1 cm broad, to 50 cm long, glabrous.

Narcissus_poeticus_leaves.jpg Leaves.

© SRTurner

Inflorescence - Typically single flower, occasionally 2, terminating aerial stem, nodding or horizontally spreading, subtended by a papery spathelike bract.

Flowers - Perianth of 6 tepals, fused at base, 35-50 mm long, white or nearly so. Tubular to saucer-shaped corona of petaloid tissue present inside the perianth lobes, this much shorter than the lobes, sometimes fringed with red, yellow below, 1.3 cm in diameter, margin crisped, 2-4mm long. Stamens 6, situated inside the corona and fused to the perianth tube. Style 1, 3 cm long, glabrous, the stigma shallowly to deeply 3-lobed. Ovary inferior, with 3 locules, each with numerous ovules.

Narcissus_poeticus_flower.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Narcissus_poeticus_corona.jpg Corona.

© SRTurner

Narcissus_poeticus_corona2.jpg Corona.

© SRTurner

Narcissus_poeticus_functional.jpg Stamens and style.

© SRTurner

Narcissus_poeticus_bract.jpg Bract of flower.

© DETenaglia

Fruits - Ellipsoid capsules, usually not produced by North American plants.

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Cultivated but often persisting at old homesites and cemeteries, or escaping to fields, disturbed sites, open woods, roadsides.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Lookalikes - N. pseudonarcissus.

Other info. - This species is not as common as the closely related daffodil (N. pseudonarcissus), but it is still found in many areas throughout the state, as well as the eastern half of the continental U.S. and parts of the Northwest. The floral cup (corona) is much smaller than in the daffodil, and the perianth lobes are usually white instead of the typical yellow of the daffodil.

Poet's narcissus has been known since ancient times, and appears in both botanical and mythological writings. The custom of decorating graves with the flowers persists to this day. The flower is fragrant and used to prepare narcissus oil, which is used extensively in perfumery. Poet's narcissus was one of the first daffodil-like plants to be cultivated, and is the type species for the genus. The plant is strongly emetic and should not be eaten.

Photographs taken off Willis Ave., Columbia, MO., 4-1-04 (DETenaglia); also at Millstream Gardens Conservation Area, Madison County, MO, 4-6-2021, and at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 4-27-2021 and 4-27-2022 (SRTurner).