Paper-White Narcissus - Narcissus papyraceus
by Tony Hall
A beautifullittle autumn - flowering white daffodil, very common throughout most of Andalucia.
It is a medium - sized bulbous perennial, growing to around 35cm tall, with a single rigid stem,which is sharply edged and grooved. Each bulb produces 4-6 glaucous leaves, all with a keeled centre, flattening towards their margins and have a rounded tip.
The pure white flowers are produced in clustered terminal groups.Commonly between 5-10 individual, heavily scented flowers, 20-45cm in diameter with 6 petalsare produced. These have a cup-shaped corona,8cm in diameter,with a wavy and notched margin and very conspicuous yellow anthers.It is commonly found growing in most soil types, even in very wet soils, most frequently seen at lower altitudes and often growing in very large groups, along roadsides and in open grassy hills.
The Latin species name, papyraceus, is from papyrus, which the ancient Egyptians used to make their paper from. And that is also where the common name,'Paper-White' comes from. This flower is often used in some parts of Andalucia as a cut flower at Christmas.
Flowering from November - March.
Tony Hall, Manager of the Arboretum and Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, specialising in the plants of Andalucía.