Narcissus vs. Daffodils

John Grimshaw
Mon, 22 Mar 2004 00:21:51 PST
'...many idle and ignorant Gardiners and others, who get names by stealth, as they do many other things, doe call some of these Daffodils Narcissus, when as all know that know any Latine, that Narcissus is the Lain name, and Daffodill the English of one and the same thing...

John Parkinson,  Paradisi in Sole, Paradisus Terrestris, 1629

I think this is the best answer ever given to Mary Sue's question. In technical writing, when citing a name for reference, in a catalogue etc, the form should be Narcissus 'Ambergate', but there is no reason why not to say "'Ambergate' is a lovely daffodil" in normal speech. 

John Grimshaw

Dr John M. Grimshaw
Garden Manager, Colesbourne Gardens 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mary Sue Ittner" <>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <>
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004 6:59 AM
Subject: [pbs] Narcissus vs. Daffodils

> Dear All,
> I was looking over the favorite orange flowered bulb posts to try to 
> summarize something for the TOW wiki page and realized I have been wanting 
> to ask this question for some time. I have noticed that the people on this 
> list whose first love or at least main interest seems to be Narcissus and 
> who are therefore considered by me to be the "experts", usually refer to 
> these plants as Daffodils. This seems to be the preferred name in fact. I 
> take it this has to do with the classification scheme which describes many 
> of the different groups as daffodils. And it is the American Daffodil 
> Society, not the American Narcissus Society. When I am summarizing a list I 
> am using botanical names to be consistent. When I am listing something like 
> Ambergate or putting a picture of something named on the wiki how is this 
> written?  Can some of you explain the usage to me and when Narcissus is 
> used and when Daffodil? Is this an example where gardeners are standing up 
> for their right to use the name they wish?
> Thanks in advance for explaining this to me.
> Mary Sue
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