Narcissus pseudonarcissus

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Wild daffodil or Lent lily
Narcissus pseudonarcissus flower 300303.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus: Narcissus
Species: N. pseudonarcissus
Binomial name
Narcissus pseudonarcissus

see text

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.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

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.)[7]


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, in the North York Moors National Park, the Farndale valley hosts a large population of the species, along the banks of the River Dove.

In England, in Gloucestershire, there are several nature reserves supporting large populations of the species near Dymock Woods SSSI. There is a Daffodil Walk Trail around several reserves in the spring.[8][9]



The history of N. pseudonarcissus has generated a large number of synonyms,[10] including;


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 south-west Wales.

  • ssp. pseudonarcissus - "Lent lily" / "Wild daffodil" - England and Wales
  • ssp. bicolor
  • ssp. eugeniae - Central Spain
  • ssp. major- "Spanish daffodil", "Great Daffodil" - Iberia
  • ssp. pugsleyanus - Spain
  • ssp. nevadensis - Iberia
  • ssp. nobilis - "Large flower daffodil" - Iberia
  • ssp. pallidiflorus - "Pale flower daffodil" - Spain and France
  • ssp. portensis - Iberia.
  • ssp. pugsleyanus - Spain
  • ssp. obvallaris - "Tenby daffodil" - Southern Wales. (sometimes considered to be derived from relict cultivation of ssp. major [1] )
  • ssp. radinganorum - SE Spain.
  • ssp. moschatus (L.) Baker (syn. ssp. candidissimus Desf.; N. alpestris Pugsley)


The daffodil is the national flower of Wales, and also the County flower of Gloucestershire.[11]

Health risks[edit]

Like all Narcissus species, daffodils contain the alkaloid poison lycorine, mostly in the bulb, but also in the leaves.[12][13] Because of this, daffodil bulbs and leaves should never be eaten.


  1. ^ Linnaeus, Carl. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 289, Narcissus pseudonarcissus
  2. ^ Gray, Samuel Frederick. 1821. Natural Arrangement of British Plants, According to Their Relation to Each Other 2:191, as Ajax fenestralis
  3. ^ Jordan, Claude Thomas Alexis. 1903. Jord. & Fourr. Icon. Fl. Eur. iii. 2. as Ajax festinus
  4. ^ Pugsley, Herbert William. 1933. Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 1933, 58:72, as Narcissus gayi
  5. ^ Sell, Peter Derek. 1996. Flora of Great Britain and Ireland 5: 364, as Narcissus pseudonarcissus forma pleniflorus
  6. ^ Haworth, Adrian Hardy. 1831. Monog. Narciss. 4, as Oileus hexangularis
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ 2011, 'Nature Reserve Guide', Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust published for its 50th anniversary
  9. ^ 'The Daffodil Trails', (undated), Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
  10. ^ The Plant List
  11. ^ Plantlife website County Flowers page
  12. ^ Food and nutrition Daffodil dinner David Trinklein, Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri, Accessed March 2008
  13. ^ "Pupils ill after bulb put in soup". BBC News. 2009-05-03. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 

External references[edit]

  1. Narcissus pseudonarcissus - Plants For A Future database report
  2. photo of herbarium specimen, at Missouri Botanical Garden, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, collected in Missouri

External links[edit]

Media related to Narcissus pseudonarcissus at Wikimedia Commons