Identifying Narcissus species

Jane McGary
Thu, 14 Mar 2013 10:14:22 PDT
As usual this time of year, I'm wondering what to call the many 
seed-grown Narcissus in my bulb beds. Browsing through the PBS wiki 
sections on Narcissus led me to a discussion of classification by 
Brian Mathew in the book "Narcissus and Daffodil," a collective 
volume edited by Gordon R. Hanks and available through CRC. Whoever 
wrote the introductory sections on our wiki apparently had access to 
this chapter, but when I went looking for it, I found I could 
download the book (most of which concerns the chemistry, especially 
pharmacological, of Narcissus) for the princely sum of $117, or have 
access to the chapter for 72 hours for only $20. I decided against 
the whole book, but am wondering whether it makes sense to get access 
for a short period to something I can't download separately and keep 
for later reference. I suspect I couldn't print it off the screen, 
either. Do any of our correspondents have an opinion on this? Will it 
help me with Section Jonquilla, the major source of my frustration?

I have John Blanchard's book "Narcissus: A guide to wild daffodils," 
which we discussed a week or two ago, but in many cases it serves 
mostly to assure the reader that he or she is not alone in being 
confused about these plants. It also describes well-known natural 
sites for many species, which helped, e.g., in examining two 
collections of N. bulbocodium from Oukaimedin, Morocco--I think I got 
ssp. bulbocodium in one case, and the intermediate with ssp. nivalis 
in the other.

I am tempted to call most of them hybrids anyway, though I did raise 
quite a few from wild-collected seeds. In any case, they are bright, 
vigorous, and fragrant, and most of them probably can move to the 
garden successfully, as long as the bulb fly lets them.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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