I became curious this week about my last-to-bloom narcissus. With its white perianths and very small cup coronas it’s been in my April garden since 2014.
N. ‘King Alfred’, ‘Tete-a-Tete’ and ‘Thalia’ are all finished just as this little one is starting to open. I wondered why the flowers sit inside the middle of the foliage and what to call it and tried to remember where I bought it. It was I think just a little temptation in the small floral section of a neighborhood grocery, just a few bulbs lacking identification but packaged to entice.
Surprisingly quickly I found images online that matched my narcissus, read several stories about others who also searched for more information about this daffodil and concluded this is Narcissus x medioluteus. (Please let me know if you doubt or have more information.) It is a naturally-occurring hybrid between Narcissus poeticus and Narcissus tazetta. First discovered in France it is naturalized in many places now, including my state of North Carolina in the US.
The common names I came across most frequently are cemetery ladies or twin sisters—twin sisters because they usually have a pair of flowers on each stem; cemetery ladies because they were often planted around graves in old cemeteries. That they normally exist in pairs threw me at first. I hadn’t at first noticed second buds piggy-backing on the stems, but yes, sure enough.
Other common names for this little daffodil are Primrose-peerless, April beauty, loving couples, pale narcissus, two-flowered narcissus. The poignant “Cemetery ladies”is the one I shall most likely remember.
Twin Sisters, Cemetery Ladies (13 W-Y) (Narcissus x medioluteus)
Division 13 – Daffodils distinguished solely by Botanical Name
Consists of the Species, Wild Variants, and Wild Hybrids found in natural daffodils.
Utterly charming! Such a sweet flower, does she have any perfume?
Yes, she’s gently fragrant Pauline. A bonus!
She’s pretty whatever you call her, although Cemetery Ladies is a name that would stick in my brain!
Kris, don’t you adore the common names of plants? So interesting I think.
What an intriguing background to this narcissus, Susie
I thought so too, Cathy. This has also become naturalised in Great Britain according to Wikipedia.
Oh, that’s interesting, thanks Susie
That’s a nice one. I like the bicolor ones that combine white with yellow.
I started browsing through a fall bulbs catalog that came in the mail this week and there are so many amazing daffodils, all tempting, but there’s something nice about this simple one.
A pretty one, I have a especial fondness for small-cup daffodils. ❤
Thanks Eliza. I now will pay more attention to small-cup daffodils. I think I’d like to try N. poeticus.
A beautiful small cup, N. poeticus are probably my latest bloomers here, ‘Pheasant’s Eye’ is my favorite. They seem to resent heat and if they dry out, the flowers abort. They do best for me in part shade with moist soil.
Beautiful. So nice that it flowers a bit later after your others have gone over too. Mine are all coming out now!
Enjoy your daffodils Cathy! They are such happy flowers.
I grow N. poeticus and this would be a great addition. Had never heard of it before.