Narcissus tazetta

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Paperwhite, Joss flower
Bunch-flowered Narcissus
Chinese Sacred Lily,
Narcissus tazetta in Israel
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus: Narcissus
Species: N. tazetta
Binomial name
Narcissus tazetta

Narcissus tazetta (Paperwhite, Bunch-flowered Narcissus, Chinese Sacred Lily, Joss flower) is a perennial ornamental plant that grows from a bulb. Cultivars of N. tazetta include 'Paperwhite', 'Grand Soleil d'Or' and 'Ziva', which are popularly used for forcing indoors, as is the form of N. tazetta known as Chinese Sacred Lily.[1][2][3]

Narcissus tazetta has thin, flat leaves up to 40 cm long and 15 mm wide. Umbels have as many as 8 flowers, white with a yellow corona.[4][5][6][7][8]

Narcissus tazetta is grown commercially for its essential oil, mostly in southern France. An interspecies hybrid, with Narcissus poeticus, is also grown for its essential oil.[9]


Narcissus tazetta is a widespread species, native to the Mediterranean region from Portugal to Turkey and across the Middle East and Central Asia to Bhutan, as well as from the Canary Islands, China (Fujian, Zhejiang) and Japan. It is also naturalized in Australia, Bhutan, Korea, Norfolk Island, New Zealand, Bermuda, Mexico and the United States (Oregon, California, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia).[10]


Six subspecies are accepted by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families:[11]


Narcissus tazetta contains a fragrant compound found in only a few other plants, including roses and Acnistus arborescens, called orcinol dimethyl ether, which is almost undetectable to the human nose. Experiments with honeybees have shown they can readily detect it.[17]


  1. ^ Judith Farr; Louise Carter (31 October 2005). The Gardens Of Emily Dickinson. Harvard University Press. p. 252. ISBN 978-0-674-01829-7. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Tovah Martin; Brooklyn Botanic Garden (1 March 2000). Old-Fashioned Flowers: Classic Blossoms to Grow in Your Garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-889538-15-0. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  3. ^ H. L. Li (3 December 2002). Chinese Flower Arrangement. Courier Dover Publications. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-486-42316-6. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 290 Narcissus tazetta
  5. ^ Haworth, Adrian Hardy. 1819. Supplementum Plantarum Succulentarum 142, Hermione tazetta
  6. ^ Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1848. Flora Telluriana 4: 21 Jonquilla tazetta
  7. ^ Rouy, Georges C. Chr. 1912. Flore de France 13: 40 Narcissus linnaeanus
  8. ^ Sessé y Lacasta, Martín & Mociño, José Mariano. 1894. Flora Mexicana ed. 2: 85 Pancratium tazetta
  9. ^ Nigel Groom (30 June 1997). The New Perfume Handbook. Springer. pp. 225–226. ISBN 978-0-7514-0403-6. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Kew Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  11. ^ Search for "Narcissus tazetta", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2012-12-26 
  12. ^ Baker, John Gilbert. 1888. Handbook of the Amarylldaceae p 9
  13. ^ a b Baker, John Gilbert. 1888. Handbook of the Amarylldaceae p 8
  14. ^ Flora of China v 24 p 269, Narcissus tazetta var. chinensis, common name 水仙 shui xian
  15. ^ Masamune, Genkei & Yanagihara, Masayuki. 1941. Transactions of the Natural History Society of Formosa 31: 329.
  16. ^ Baker, John Gilbert. 1888. Handbook of the Amarylldaceae p 7
  17. ^ Natalia Dudareva; Eran Pichersky (27 March 2006). Biology of Floral Scent. CRC Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-8493-2283-9. 

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