Narcissus rupicola subsp. watieri

Jane McGary
Sun, 04 Mar 2012 16:47:08 PST
For many years I've been growing Narcissus rupicola subsp. watieri 
(sometimes called N. watieri) from an Archibald seed collection in 
the Atlas Mountains. It is similar to the familiar N. rupicola subsp. 
rupicola but has pure white flowers with a green throat, which makes 
it desirable to those who hybridize miniature Narcissus. I 
distributed a lot of them in my surplus bulb sales over the years.

In 2004 I planted seeds identified as this Narcissus collected in 
Morocco by Vlastimil Pilous, at a different location from the 
Archibald-Salmon-Blanchard collections. It has white flowers, albeit 
smaller than those of the other plants, but curiously, the leaves lie 
flat on the soil surface instead of being erect. I don't find any 
mention of a white Narcissus in that area with this foliage trait in 
John Blanchard's book "Narcissus: A guide to wild daffodils."

There are other Narcissus with prostrate leaves, such as N. 
bulbocodium subsp. obesus and N. scaberulus, but they're in different 
sections of the genus and are yellow.

Do any of our Narcissus experts have any ideas about this odd little 
plant? It's about to come into flower.

The bulb house is full of Narcissus and their fragrance these days. 
The N. romieuxii species and hybrids are amazingly long-lasting in 
flower and their light yellow color goes with everything. N. 
cantabricus is winding down, though some of its forms (usually grown 
from Michael Salmon's seeds under the "splir" names) are 
later-flowering, and the very short-stemmed, upfacing ones are at 
their peak now. The short ones are favorites of mine, of course, 
since I am also a rock gardener. At the back of the beds are tall N. 
cordubensis and N. hispanicus, and at the very front little ones like 
N. hedraeanthus and N. bulbocodium subsp. alpinus. I see that some 
miscellaneous hoop-petticoat species and hybrids also got into the 
garden mingled with the other volunteer bulbs I salvaged from the 
plunge sand in the old bulb frames, and even N. canrtabricus is 
flowering nicely there despite an inch of snow last week. Today is 
the first springlike day here, but I'm sure it won't persist.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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