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.