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In Bloom

Narcissus spp. Amaryllidaceae
 
<em> Magnolia-stellata </em>Waterlily by Mona Bourell

Narcissus by Brendan Lange

<em> Narcissus </em> by Joanne Taylor <em> Narcissus </em> by Joanne Taylor <em> Narcissus </em> by Joanne Taylor <em> Narcissus </em> by Joanne Taylor <em> Narcissus </em> by Joanne Taylor <em> Narcissus </em> by Joanne Taylor <em> Narcissus </em> by Brendan Lange
 

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New to the Garden this year are rings and clusters of Narcissus, planted in fall 2016, in the exterior beds along Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and within the Garden in our Great Meadow and surrounding areas. While our magnificent magnolias remain mystified by changes in temperature and precipitation, both of which have likely contributed to a winter of fluctuations in flowering phase, our newly-planted daffodils have popped like clockwork.

With significantly less genetic diversity than our large collection of species magnolias, each cultivated variety ("cultivar") of daffodil planted in the Garden is clonal - all members of the cultivar are exact genetic replicas of each other. Assuming they had received uniform environmental conditions prior to fall planting in the Garden, we would expect them to exhibit this tight, unified response to their new environment. Planted en masse, this synced show can be stunning.

Narcissus is a genus of near 60 species, with many hybrids and selections. They are native to a broad region, from the Canary Islands to Northern Africa, the United Kingdom and Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and China and Japan, the latter two where Narcissus was likely introduced between 1300 and 1400 years ago. As Homo sapiens have proven to be, Narcissus are also a very adaptable group. They have successfully hitchhiked with us around the globe and have expanded their range and naturalized in India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and even the Falkland Islands off Argentina. As they are around the globe - even locally to the roadsides of I-280 near Palo Alto - Narcissus are also abundant in art and literature, from Van Gogh to Shakespeare.

Clearly, daffodils have a long history of appreciation. In Western Europe, documentation and widescale cultivation appears to have expanded significantly by the 16th Century. Today, in the United Kingdom alone, there are more than 13,000 acres of daffodils cultivated for the cut flower market. That's over 20 square miles of daffodils - more than 40% of the footprint of San Francisco! Over 10,000 cultivars exist today.

Similar to the flower of the magnolia, daffodil flowers also sport tepals - the collective term used to define flowers that are modified with showy petals and sepals. Daffodils are sometimes fragrant and, combined with their nectar and colorful flowers, are effective at drawing pollinators to do their reproductive bidding. Humans have found this fragrance desirable as well, and essential oils are extracted from narcissus flowers (among many others) and used in fragrances so that we may perfume ourselves.

Narcissus have been used in traditional medicine for millennia, from the treatment of cancerous tumors to wounds, strains, joint pain, and congestion. At one point it even was believed to treat freckles. As many times is the case, however, the efficacy of traditional medicines have been proven with contemporary research. For the daffodil, modern medicine has found important uses for galantamine, a daffodil derivative, as a drug used to treat Alzheimer's Disease and other memory impairments.

You may think they're too common. Ubiquitous. Pedestrian. But if you're not scent-averse, try a single paperwhite narcissus on your countertop or patio table. The next season, you may just be returning to acquire two or three.

IN BLOOM CONTRIBUTORS: Text by Corey Barnes. Profile by Mona Bourell. Photos by Joanne Taylor and Brendan Lange.

Location

Narcissus can be found
Great Meadow Bed 8;
Lawns surrounding Great Meadow Beds 9A & 13;
Heidelberg Hill Beds 28.

Visiting Info >>
Map (Bed Numbers) >>

Profile

Scientific Name Narcissus spp.
Common Names narcissus, daffodil
Family Amaryllidaceae
Plant Type Long-lived perennial geophytes (produce underground bulbs).
Environment Best in organically rich, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-drained sandy loams; full sun to part shade.
Bloom Early spring. Flower of trumpet-shaped cup surrounded by 6 tepals, in colors ranging from white, yellow, orange, pink and sometimes bicolored. Sometimes fragrant.
Uses Great for borders, in front shrubs, massed under trees and in open woodland gardens. Smaller varieties are great in rock gardens.
Other Drought tolerant; gopher, deer, and rabbit resistant.
 
 
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Aloe arborescens

Aloe arborescens

January

Magnolia stellata

Magnolia stellata

February

<em>Narcissus</em> spp.

Narcissus spp.

March

Cantua buxifolia

Polylepis spp.

April

Davidia involucrata

Davidia involucrata

May

Digitalis spp.

Digitalis spp.

June

Cantua buxifolia

Gunnera tinctoria

July

Cantua buxifolia

Chinese tulip tree

August

Fitzroya cupressoides

Fitzroya cupressoides

January

Polyspora longicarpa

Polyspora longicarpa

February

Polyspora longicarpa

Magnolia laevifolia

March

Cantua buxifolia

Cantua buxifolia

April

Papaver rhoeas

Papaver rhoeas

May

Strelitzia reginae

Strelitzia reginae

June

Cestrum elegans

Cestrum elegans

July

Dichroa febrifuga

Dichroa febrifuga

August

Dichroa febrifuga

Sequoia sempervirens

September

Cestrum elegans

Salvia confertifolia

October

Cestrum elegans

Nerine bowdenii

November

Cestrum elegans

Protea lepidocarpodendron

December

Magnolia campbellii

Magnolia campbellii

January

Magnolia doltsopa

Magnolia doltsopa

February

Magnolia liliiflora

Magnolia liliiflora

March

Vireya Rhododendrons

Vireya Rhododendrons

April

Leucospermum spp.

Leucospermum spp.

May

Senna multiglandulosa

Senna multiglandulosa

June

Tagetes lemmonii

Tagetes lemmonii

July

Eucomis spp.

Eucomis spp.

August

Cuphea spp.

Cuphea spp.

September

Phyllocladus trichomanoides

Phyllocladus trichomanoides

October

Phyllocladus trichomanoides

Saurauia Madrensis

November

Pinus pseudostrobus

Pinus pseudostrobus

December

Magnolia dawsoniana

Magnolia dawsoniana

January

Magnolia campbellii 'Strybing White'

Magnolia campbellii 'Strybing White'

February

Magnolia laevifolia'Strybing Compact'

Magnolia laevifolia 'Strybing Compact'

March

Aristolochia californica

Aristolochia californica

April

Chlorogalum pomeridianum

Chlorogalum pomeridianum

May

Arbutus menziesii

Arbutus menziesii

June

Romneya coulteri

Romneya coulteri

July

Cistus sp.

Cistus sp.

August

Rosmarinus sp.

Rosmarinus sp.

September

Dahlia spp.

Dahlia spp.

October

Salvia cacaliifolia

Salvia cacaliifolia

November

Salvia cacaliifolia

Salvia microphylla
'Hot Lips'

November

Magnolia campbellii

Magnolia campbellii

January

Magnolia denudata

Magnolia denudata

February

Magnolia x veitchii

Magnolia x veitchii

March

Iris douglasiana

Iris douglasiana

April

Aesculus californica

Aesculus californica

May

Vaccinium ovatum

Vaccinium ovatum

June

Sambucus racemosa

Sambucus racemosa

July

Sequoia sempervirens

Sequoia sempervirens

August

Asarum caudatum

Asarum caudatum

September

Deppea splendens

Deppea splendens

October

Montanoa spp.

Montanoa spp.

November

Bidens sp.

Bidens sp.

December

Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku'

Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku'

January

Magnolia campbellii 'Darjeeling'

Magnolia campbellii 'Darjeeling'

February

Bomaria spp.

Bomarea spp.

March

Rhododendron occidentale

Rhododendron occidentale

April

Polystichum munitum

Polystichum munitum

May

x Chiranthofremontia lenzii

x Chiranthofremontia lenzii

June

Salvia leucantha

Salvia leucantha

July

Hydrangea seemannii

Hydrangea seemannii

August

Wollemia nobilis

Wollemia nobilis

September

Cyathea cooperi

Cyathea cooperi

October

Pinus radiata

Pinus radiata

November

Correa spp.

Correa spp.

December

Garrya elliptica

Garrya elliptica

January

Magnolia x soulangeana

Magnolia x soulangeana

February

Senecio glastifolius

Senecio glastifolius

March

Ribes spp.

Ribes spp.

April

Oxalis oregana

Oxalis oregana

May

Calandrinia grandiflora

Calandrinia grandiflora

June

Taxus baccata

Taxus baccata

July

Romneya coulteri

Romneya coulteri

August

Passiflora parritae

Passiflora parritae

September

Malvaviscus arboreus

Malvaviscus arboreus

October

Monterey Cypress

Monterey Cypress

November

Aloe arborescens

Aloe arborescens

December

Aloe plicatilis

Aloe plicatilis

January

Banksia seminuda

Banksia seminuda

February

Zantedeschia elliottiana

Zantedeschia aethiopica

March

Magnolia laevifolia

Magnolia laevifolia

April

Araucaria heterophylla

Araucaria heterophylla

May

Toxicodendron diversilobum

Toxicodendron diversilobum

June

Clarkia sp.

Clarkia sp.

July

Agapanthus

Agapanthus

August

Brugmansia

Brugmansia

September

Cedrus spp.

Cedrus spp.

October

Protea repens

Protea repens

November

Camellia sinensis

Camellia sinensis

December

Thujopsis dolabrata

Thujopsis dolabrata

January

Gordonia longicarpa

Gordonia longicarpa

February

Rojasianthe superba

Rojasianthe superba

March

Echium spp.

Echium spp.

April

Iris douglasiana

Iris douglasiana

May

Digitalis purpurea

Digitalis purpurea

June

Felicia amelloides

Felicia amelloides

July

Ceroxylon quindiuense

Ceroxylon quindiuense

August

Amaryllis belladonna

Amaryllis belladonna

September

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba

October

Acer morrisonense

Acer morrisonense

November

Ilex aquifolium

Ilex aquifolium

December

Picea sitchensis

Picea sitchensis

January

Telanthophora grandifolia

Telanthophora grandifolia

February

Aeonium arboreum 'Schwartzkopf'

Aeonium arboreum 'Schwartzkopf'

March

Leptospermum Spp.

Leptospermum

April

Salvia gesneraeflora

Salvia gesneraeflora

May

Lavandula spp.

Lavandula spp.

June

Pelargonium

Pelargonium

July

Fuchsia paniculata

Fuchsia paniculata

August

Luma apiculata

Luma apiculata

September

Luculia

Luculia

October

Arbutus unedo

Arbutus unedo

November

Cycads

Cycad

December

Restionaceae

Restionaceae

January

Hellebores

Hellebores

February

Ceanothus

Ceanothus

March

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

April

Psoralea pinnata

Psoralea pinnata

May

Fremontodendron californicum

Fremontodendron californicum

June

Leucadendron argenteum

Leucadendron argenteum

July

Crocosmia

Crocosmia

August

Gunnera tinctoria

Gunnera tinctoria

September

Pellaea rotundifolia

Pellaea rotundifolia

October

Fuchsia boliviana

Fuchsia boliviana

November

Erica canaliculata

Erica canaliculata

December

Magnolia campbelli

Magnolia campbelli

January

Magnolia denudata

Magnolia denudata

February

Camellia

Camellia

March

Geranium maderense

Geranium maderense

April

Acmena smithii

Acmena smithii

May

Eschscholzia californica

Eschscholzia californica

June

Dendromecon harfordii

Dendromecon harfordii

July

Romneya coulteri

Romneya coulteri

August

Eupatorium purpureum

Eupatorium purpureum

September

Epilobium canum sp.

Epilobium canum sp.

October

Grevillea spp.

Grevillea spp.

November

Drimys winteri

Drimys winteri

December

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