Fine Art

Narcissus poeticus (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamilia: Amaryllidoideae
Tribus: Narcisseae
Genus: Narcissus
Subgenus: N. subg. Narcissus
Sectio: N. sect. Narcissus
Species: Narcissus poeticus
Subspecies: N. p. subsp. poeticus – N. p. subsp. radiiflorus – N. p. subsp. verbanensis

Narcissus poeticus L., Sp. Pl. 1: 289 (1753).

Narcissus angustifolius Curtis ex Haw., Bot. Mag. 6: t. 193 (1792), nom. superfl.
Narcissus poeticus var. angustifolius Herb., Amaryllidaceae: 317 (1837), nom. inval.
Narcissus poeticus var. grandiflorus Herb., Amaryllidaceae: 317 (1837), nom. inval.
Autogenes angustifolius Raf., Fl. Tellur. 4: 20 (1838), nom. superfl.
Autogenes poeticus (L.) Raf., Fl. Tellur. 4: 20 (1838).
Hermione angustifolia M.Roem., Fam. Nat. Syn. Monogr. 4: 234 (1847), nom. superfl.
Stephanophorum purpuraceum Dulac, Fl. Hautes-Pyrénées: 133 (1867), nom. superfl.
Narcissus poeticus raza angustifolus Sennen, Exsicc. (Pl. Esp.) 1911: n.º 1232 (1912), nom. inval.


N. × andorranus – N. × aranensis – N. × bernardii – N. × boutignyanus – N. × incomparabilis – N. × leedsii – N. × medioluteus – N. × montserratii – N. × nelsonii – N. × souliei – N. × tenuior – N. × vallrutae

Narcissus poeticus Sibth. & Sm. (1806) = Narcissus poeticus subsp. radiiflorus (Salisb.) Baker

Native distribution areas:
Narcissus poeticus

Continental: Europe
EC. & S. Europe to Ukraine

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 289. Reference page.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Narcissus poeticus in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Narcissus poeticus in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Nov 23. Reference page.

Vernacular names
العربية: نرجس شاعري
বাংলা: নার্গিস
català: narcís dels poetes, grandalla, satalia, jonquillos, jonquill, lliri blanc, lliri de la Mare de Déu, lliris blancs, menines, polit o satalies
kaszëbsczi: Jastrowô lelijô
čeština: narcis bílý
Cymraeg: cenhinen-Bedr y beirdd
Deutsch: Dichter-Narzisse
English: poet's daffodil, poet's narcissus, nargis, pheasant's eye, findern flower, pinkster lily
Esperanto: Blanka narciso, Poetnarciso, Poeta narciso
español: narciso de los poetas, jonquillos, narciso común, narciso de lechuguilla, narciso de los jardines, narciso militar, narciso poético, tragapán, trompón
eesti: Poeedinartsiss, Valge nartsiss
suomi: Valkonarsissi, Runoilijanarsissi
Nordfriisk: Pingstruus
français: Narcisse des poètes, Narcisse des poetes
hrvatski: bijeli sunovrat, zelenkada, jagljca, lužanja, bokalići, drimnjak, glavobolnik, lužan, ovčica, sunovrat, obični sunovrat, beli narcis
hornjoserbsce: Prawa narcisa
magyar: fehér nárcisz
italiano: narciso selvatico
日本語: クチベニズイセン, クチベニスイセン
македонски: бел нарцис
Nederlands: dichtersnarcis, Witte narcis
polski: narcyz biały, narcyz wonny
پنجابی: چٹی نرگس
português: narciso
română: narcise,coprine
русский: Нарцисс поэтический, Нарцисс обыкновенный
slovenčina: narcis biely
српски / srpski: нарцис
svenska: Pingstlilja, Narcissus poëticus
Türkçe: Zerrin
українська: Нарцис поетичний
اردو: نرگس

Narcissus poeticus, the poet's daffodil, poet's narcissus, nargis, pheasant's eye, findern flower or pinkster lily, was one of the first daffodils to be cultivated, and is frequently identified as the narcissus of ancient times (although Narcissus tazetta and Narcissus jonquilla have also been considered as possibilities). It is also often associated with the Greek legend of Narcissus. It is the type species of the genus Narcissus and is widely naturalized in North America.


The flower is extremely fragrant, with a ring of tepals in pure white and a short corona of light yellow with a distinct reddish edge.[2] It grows to 20 to 40 cm (7.9 to 15.7 in) tall.[3][4][5]

Narcissus poeticus was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his book Species Plantarum on page 289 in 1753.[6][7]

Narcissus poeticus is native to central and southern Europe from Spain, France through Switzerland, Austria to Croatia, Greece and Ukraine.[8] It is naturalized in Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Turkey, New Zealand, British Columbia, Washington state, Oregon, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, and much of the eastern United States,[9][10][11] from Louisiana and Georgia north to Maine and Wisconsin.[12][13]
Legend and history
Botanical drawing, c. 1659 (N. poeticus in center)
Botanical drawing from Otto Wilhelm Thomé's Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz (1885)

The earliest mention of poet's daffodil is likely in the Historia Plantarum (VI.6.9), the main botanical writing of Theophrastus (371 – c. 287 BCE), who wrote about a spring-blooming narcissus that the Loeb Classical Library editors identify as Narcissus poeticus.[14] According to Theophrastus, the narcissus (νάρκισσος), also called leirion (λείριον), has a leafless stem, with the flower at the top. The plant blooms very late, after the setting of Arcturus about the equinox.[15] The poet Virgil, in his fifth Eclogue, also wrote about a narcissus whose description corresponds with that of Narcissus poeticus.[16] In one version of the myth about the Greek hero Narcissus, he was punished by the Goddess of vengeance, Nemesis, who turned him into a Narcissus flower that historians associate with Narcissus poeticus.[17][18][19] The fragrant Narcissus poeticus has also been recognized as the flower that Persephone and her companions were gathering when Hades abducted her into the Underworld, according to Hellmut Baumann in The Greek Plant World in Myth, Art, and Literature. This myth accounts for the custom, which has lasted into modern times, of decorating graves with these flowers.[20] Linnaeus, who gave the flower its name, quite possibly did so because he believed it was the one that inspired the tale of Narcissus, handed down by poets since ancient times.[21]

In medicine, it was described by Dioscorides in his Materia Medica as "Being laid on with Loliacean meal, & honey it draws out splinters".[22] James Sutherland also mentioned it in his Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis.[23] In Korea, it is used to treat conjunctivitus, urethritis and amenorrhoea.[8]
Use in perfume

Poet's daffodil is cultivated in the Netherlands and southern France for its essential oil,[8] narcissus oil, one of the most popular fragrances used in perfumes. Narcissus oil is used as a principal ingredient in 11% of modern quality perfumes—including 'Fatale' and 'Samsara'—as a floral concrete or absolute. The oil's fragrance resembles a combination of jasmine and hyacinth.[24]

Narcissus poeticus has long been cultivated in Europe. According to one legend, it was brought back to England from the crusades by Sir Geoffrey de Fynderne.[25] It was still abundant in 1860 when historian Bernard Burke visited the village of Findern—where it still grows in certain gardens and has become an emblem of the village.[26] It was introduced to America by the late 18th century,[27] when Bernard McMahon of Philadelphia offered it among his narcissus. It may be the "sweet white narcissus" that Peter Collinson sent John Bartram in Philadelphia, only to be told that it was already common in Pennsylvania, having spread from its introduction by early settlers.[28] The plant has naturalized throughout the eastern half of the United States and Canada, along with some western states and provinces.[29]

Narcissus poeticus has long been hybridized with the wild British daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus, producing many named hybrids. These older heritage hybrids tend to be more elegant and graceful than modern hybrid daffodils, and are becoming available in the UK once again.[30] One such cultivar is the popular 'Actaea', which has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[31]

N. poeticus var. recurvus, the old pheasant's eye daffodil, has also won the AGM.[32] [33]

While all narcissi are poisonous when eaten, poet's daffodil is more dangerous than others, acting as a strong emetic and irritant.[34] The scent can be powerful enough to cause headache and vomiting if a large quantity is kept in a closed room.[35]
Photo gallery

"Valley of Narcissus" - natural lowland habitat in the Transcarpathian region, Ukraine

Field of naturalized N. poeticus in Slovenia

Wild N. poeticus in the Ardèche

In flower in the Daffodil Meadow, Brașov County, Romania

Near Admonter Haus, Styria, Austria (~1750 m)

A Narcissus poeticus flower in Burlington, Ontario, Canada


The Plant List
Woodhead, Eileen; William W. Custead (1998). Early Canadian Gardening. McGill-Queen's Press – MQUP. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-7735-1731-8.
"Narcissus poeticus". Flora of North America. Retrieved 2008-12-25.
Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 289, Narcissus poeticus
Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1838. Flora Telluriana 4: 20, as Autogenes angustifolius and Autogenes poeticus
"Taxon: Narcissus poeticus L." (Germplasm Resources Information Network). Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
"Amaryllidaceae Narcissus poeticus L." (International Plant Names Index). Retrieved 15 December 2015.
Peter Hanelt (Editor) for Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research Mansfeld's Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: (Except Ornamentals), p. 227, at Google Books
Pugsley, Herbert William. 1915. Journal of Botany, British and Foreign 53 (Suppl. 2): 36, as Narcissus hellenicus
Sell, Peter Derek. 1996. Flora of Great Britain and Ireland 5: 363, as Narcissus poeticus subsp. majalis
Dulac, Joseph. 1867. Flore du Département des Hautes-Pyrénées, 133, as Stephanophorum purpuraceum
Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Biota of North America Program
Jashemski, Wilhelmina Mary Feemster; Frederick Gustav Meyer (2002). The Natural History of Pompeii: A Systematic Survey. Cambridge University Press. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-521-80054-9.
Theophrastus, Historia plantarum (Enquiry into plants), ed. A. Hort, vol. 2, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1916 (2:1961), p. 42-43. "ὄψιον δὲ σφόδρα· μετὰ γὰρ ᾿Αρκτοῦρον ἡ ἄνθησις καὶ περὶ ἰσημερίαν".
Bourne, Stephen Eugene; W. L. Foster (1903). The Book of the Daffodil. J. Lane. p. 3. "the book of the daffodil bourne."
Lehner, Ernst; Johanna Lehner (1990). Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants, and Trees. Omnigraphics. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-55888-886-9.
"In the classic myth, Nemesis, the deity of vengeance, complying with Hera's order to punish Narcissus for his egotism, turns him into the narcissus flower (narcissus poeticus)" Peavy, p. 438.
Peavy, Charles D. (Jul–Sep 1966). "Faulkner's Use of Folklore in The Sound and the Fury". The Journal of American Folklore. American Folklore Society. 79 (313): 437–447. doi:10.2307/537508. JSTOR 537508.
Taken from Baumann, Hellmut, The Greek Plant World in Myth, Art, and Literature, London: The Herbert Press; 1993. Cited in Dafni, Amots; Efraim Lev; Sabine Beckmann; Christian Eichberger (2006-09-10). "Ritual plants of Muslim graveyards in northern Israel". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 2 (38): 38. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-2-38. PMC 1584233. PMID 16961931.
Allen, Ray. "Daffodils – the Flower that Means Spring!". Floridata. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
Eastwood, Dr M A Eastwood. "The Sibbald Physic Garden". History of Medicine. Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2008-12-26.[dead link]
Robertson, Forbes W. (Winter 2001). "James Sutherland's "Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis" (1683)". Garden History. The Garden History Society. 29 (2): 144. doi:10.2307/1587367. JSTOR 1587367.
Groom, Nigel (1997). The New Perfume Handbook. Springer. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-7514-0403-6.
The Christian. Morgan and Scott. 1871.
"Welcome to Findern". Findern Parish Council. Retrieved 2008-12-26.[dead link]
Taylor, Raymond L. (1996). Plants of Colonial Days. Courier Dover Publications. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-486-29404-9.
Ann Leighton, American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century: 'For Use or for Delight' (University of Massachusetts Press) 1986:459.
"Narcissus poeticus L." USDA Plants Profile. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
Kingsbury, Noel (2008-03-20). "Narcissus: Old gold". Retrieved 2008-12-26.
"Narcissus 'Actaea'". RHS. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
"Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
"AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 107. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
Hanks, Gordon R. (2002). Narcissus and Daffodil: The Genus Narcissus. CRC Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-415-27344-2.

Grieve, Maud; C. F. Leyel (1971). A Modern Herbal. Courier Dover Publications. p. 573. ISBN 978-0-486-22799-3.

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Ali, S. I. & S. M. H. Jafri, eds. Flora of Libya. 1976- (F Libya)
Botanical Society of the British Isles BSBI taxon database (on-line resource). (BSBI)
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Fernandes, A. 1968. Keys to the identification of native and naturalized taxa of the genus Narcissus L. Daffodil Tulip Year Book 48.
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