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Narcissus L.

Sp.Pl. 2:289 (1753)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Common name. Narcissus. Family Amaryllidaceae.

Sometimes included in Liliaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs (small to medium, may form clumps). Perennial (leaves annual). Leaves basal. Plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Young stems basal, herbaceous, short. Bulbaceous (tunicated). Mesophytic. Leaves alternate; spiral, or distichous; ‘herbaceous’; sessile; sheathing; simple. Leaf blades entire; flat (to channelled), or solid; terete (to flat); linear, or lanceolate, or oblong, or ovate, or orbicular; linear; parallel-veined; without cross-venules; sheathing. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaves with a persistent basal meristem, and basipetal development. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent. Extra-floral nectaries absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present. Nectar secretion from the gynoecium.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in umbels. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences scapiflorous; terminal; scape erect, unbranched, solid, compressed, leafless; with involucral bracts; spatheate (bracts basally fused into a tube, 1 bract, scarious or not scarious). Flowers pedicellate (sheathed by the spathe); bracteolate (small), or ebracteolate; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic, or pentacyclic. Perigone tube present. Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; 2 -whorled (3+3, but with a conspicuous ‘corona’, like an extra, inner whorl); isomerous; joined; petaloid; similar in the two whorls; white, or white and yellow, or white and orange (corona and perianth sometimes contrasting). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 6. Androecial members adnate; all equal; free of one another; 2 -whorled (3+3). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens (at least, reduction to staminodes not mentioned by Dahlgren et al. 1985). Stamens 6 (in 2 whorls); all more or less similar in shape; isomerous with the perianth (rarely), or diplostemonous; on the perianth tube at 2 levels, opposite the segments; alterniperianthial; filantherous (the filaments sometimes appendaged alongside the anthers). Filaments appendiculate (the connate filaments sometimes expanded to form a staminal corona), or not appendiculate. Anthers dorsifixed (epipeltate), or basifixed (rarely); versatile (usually), or non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 3 celled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; inferior. Ovary plurilocular; 3 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1; 1–3 - lobed; capitate. Placentation axile. Ovules 20–50 per locule (many); non-arillate; anatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent, or indehiscent; a capsule, or a berry. Capsules loculicidal. Fruit 20–100 seeded (many). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds winged, or wingless. Cotyledons 1. Embryo straight. Testa encrusted with phytomelan, or without phytomelan.

Etymology. After Narcissus of Greek mythology who, it is said, was turned into this plant after killing himself because he couldn't reach the person he saw reflected in a pool.

J. Gathe and Leslie Watson, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, Judy; Marchant, Neville; Lewington, Margaret; Graham, Lorraine 2002. Flora of the south west, Bunbury, Augusta, Denmark. Volume 1, introduction, keys, ferns to monocotyledons. Australian Biological Resources Study.. Canberra..