Wild Flowers - The Green Daffodil

The Green Daffodil - Narcissus viridiflorus © Tony Hall
The Green Daffodil - Narcissus viridiflorus © Tony Hall

The Green Daffodil - Narcissus viridiflorus

by Tony Hall

If I have a favourite Narcissus. It is this one. It is stunningly different (it definitely won't be confused with any other narcissus species), and becoming quite rare.

This autumn flowering species starts to appear usually after the first spell of rain in October and in Spain is only found in the province of Cadiz, but can also be found growing close to the coast on the other side of the Straits of Gibraltar in North Africa around Morocco.

It is a small to medium bulbous perennial, growing between 15 and 35cm tall, becoming taller as it goes to seed. The erect, glaucous flower stems can be either round or elliptical and typically have 1-5 flowers on each stem, but I have seen them with as many as nine on a single stem. The flowers are a dull olive green, making them often quite difficult to spot. They have six narrow tepals (petals), which become reflexed with age. The central cup-shaped corona has six rounded lobes and is around 1mm high. The flowers are highly scented. The one or two dark green, round leaves, are usually produced towards the end or after flowering and are around 60cm long and prostrate.

Green daffodils are quite limited in their habitat, and found growing in basic (alkaline) soils that are generally wet throughout autumn and winter, often in wet roadside gullies and in large numbers.

Flowering from October to November.

Tony Hall, Manager of the Arboretum and Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, specialising in the plants of Andalucía.