|Narcissus tazetta in Israel|
Narcissus tazetta (paperwhite, bunch-flowered narcissus, Bunch-flowered Daffodil, Chinese sacred lily, cream narcissus, joss flower, polyanthus narcissus) 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.
Narcissus tazetta is amongst the tallest of the narcissi, and can grow to a height of up to 80 cm, with thin, flat leaves up to 40 cm long and 15 mm wide. Umbels have as many as 8 flowers, white with a yellow corona.
Six subspecies are accepted by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families:
- N. tazetta subsp. aureus (Jord. & Fourr.) Baker – south-east France, Sardinia, north-west Italy, Algeria, Morocco
- N. tazetta subsp. canariensis (Burb.) Baker – Canary Islands
- N. tazetta subsp. chinensis (M.Roem.) Masam. & Yanagih. – south-east China, Japan, South Korea
- N. tazetta subsp. corcyrensis (Herb.) Baker – Corfu (Greece)
- N. tazetta subsp. italicus (Ker Gawl.) Baker syn. N. italicus – Mediterranean from southern France to Greece
- N. tazetta subsp. tazetta – widely distributed from the western Mediterranean to Afghanistan
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.
Narcissus tazetta is a widespread species, native to the Mediterranean region from Portugal to Turkey. It is also naturalized across the Middle East, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan, as well as the Canary Islands, China (Fujian, Zhejiang), Japan, Australia, 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) and South America.
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. A recent medicinal use is that a certain protein known as lectin has antiviral properties against influenza. This is based on a dose-dependent manner. The antiviral property results from the fact that it can inhibit RSV during the viral infection cycle and so the problem could not spread. The antiviral activity of the certain lectin group protein will usually have a greater effect during the earlier stages of the influenza. It has little cytotoxicity and great potential as an antiviral agent, so it has potential for further use in biotechnology research in the future.
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Next to the Hyacinths, Tulips, Ranunculuses, and Anemones, of which we have treated already, the Polyanthus Narcissus holds the first place and demands our chief attention
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- Ooi, Linda (Mar 2010). "Narcissus tazetta lectin shows strong inhibitory effects against respiratory syncytial virus, influenza A (H1N1, H3N2, H5N1) and B viruses". Journal of Biosciences (Bangalore. 35 (1): 95–103. doi:10.1007/s12038-010-0012-8. PMID 20413914. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
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