Updated Narcissus section on the wiki

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Fri, 21 Jan 2011 10:01:57 PST
I printed out the nomenclature update from the RHS site to which 
David Nicholson and Jim Waddick directed us. It includes both the 
Fernandes Casas classification that is rejected in large part by some 
British botanists, and references to names in Michael Salmon's 
(Monocot Nursery) catalogs, which are derived in large part from the 
Spanish classification. I grew a lot of my Narcissus from seed 
purchased from Monocot, so I'll go back and match my database with 
the references in this list and see what I come up with. The RHS list 
reflects a "lumping" approach that results in very long names -- a 
lot of work to switch out my embossed metal labels, I'm sure.

In any case, at least where the Bulbocodium section and the various 
forms of N. rupicola are concerned, we should be cautious in labeling 
seed-grown plants, since in a mixed collection like mine they 
hybridize within sections quite a lot. When I moved my collection 
this summer I sifted through tons of plunge sand in the frames and 
rescued as many as I could find of the volunteer bulbs that had grown 
between the pots over the years. I planted them at random in sand on 
a steep bank where my rock garden will be, and under sod on a gentle 
slope. As I write, a couple of the hoop petticoat narcissi are in 
flower in the sand. One is apparently N. romieuxii, and the other 
appears to be a hybrid romieuxii x cantabricus. The latter flower is 
unusual because it's two flowers partially fused. This feature 
usually doesn't repeat from year to year in the many kinds of plants 
in which it can occur. Considering the mistreatment these bulbs 
received in the course of my move, it's amazing they're even alive, 
much less flowering.

Both the rock garden and the newly laid sod will have "all sorts" in 
them thanks to the Bulb Frame Volunteers. The presence of my dogs 
seems to be keeping the squirrels away, and there are no voles or 
gophers here. Already I see Crocus minimus, Crocus gargaricus, and C. 
sieberi in bloom, and lower down in the turf area I planted several 
hundred bulbs of Narcissus obvallaris, dug from an area of rough 
grass in my former garden. It has kept its name though at times it's 
been regarded as N. pseudonarcissus; perhaps the British botanists 
had a soft spot for their only native species. The dozen bulbs I 
started with 25 years ago formed large colonies in pasture grass that 
was sometimes inundated in winter and got very dry in summer. There 
were also seedlings downstream of the large clumps, which interested 
me because some writers claim this species does not self-sow. The 
seedlings eventually flowered and appeared identical to the N. 
obvallaris, which blooms for me well before any large hybrid 
daffodils do -- in February even up in the Cascade foothills.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

More information about the pbs mailing list