Saturday 15 June
Narcissus (Narcissus longispathus)
Narcissus fact file
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Commonly known as daffodils, the characteristic trumpet- or funnel-shaped flowers of the Narcissus genus are often considered as heralds of spring (2), and Narcissus longispathus is no exception. A perennial species, Narcissus longispathus produces a large, single flower, which has a distinctive pale greenish-yellow perianth. This consists of three petals and three sepals, and a bright yellow corona (3) (4).
Like other members of the Narcissus genus, Narcissus longispathus emerges from a bulb, an underground storage organ from which the roots and shoots develop. The linear, strap-like, stalkless leaves of Narcissus longispathus develop from the base of the plant, and the flower is borne on a long, leafless flower stalk known as a scape (3) (5). The ovary of the plant is usually concealed underground, but during fruiting the scape elongates, pushing the developing capsule to the surface (5).Top
The bulbs of Narcissus longispathus begin to sprout leaves and floral scapes in late February. Each individual bulb produces one scape, which bears a single, distinctive, bright yellow flower that blooms between March and late April to early May. The flower lasts for around 17 days (3) (4) (8).
The flowers of Narcissus longispathus are ‘self-compatible’, meaning that the flowers may be pollinated using pollen from the same flower, or from another flower on the same plant. More frequently, however, Narcissus longispathus is pollinated by small, solitary bees, such as Andrena bicolour, which inadvertently transfer pollen between different plants as they forage (4) (6) (8).
Narcissus longispathus develops fruits between April and May, which are usually shed by early June. The seeds are buoyant and have a thick coating, which means that while most seeds fall directly to the ground beneath the parent plant, some seeds may be dispersed by water (4). The flowers and fruits of Narcissus longispathus are often eaten by the caterpillar larvae of Trigonophora flammea, and by beetles such as Tropinota squalida (8).Top
Narcissus longispathus is endemic to Andalusia in the south-eastern Iberian Peninsula, Spain. It is has a wide but fragmented distribution in the mountain ranges of Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas (1) (3) (4), as well as in the Castril, Mágina and Jaén Mountains (1) (3).Top
A mountain inhabitant (6), Narcissus longispathus occurs in scattered populations in wet meadows and grasslands, along the margins of creeks and streams, in watersheds and river valleys, and close to lakes, ponds and other sources of permanent water (1) (3) (6).
This species is typically found in association with Scirpus holoschoenus, Holcus mollis, Piptatherum veriaean, and Eleocharis nigricans (1). It usually occurs at elevations of 1,000 to 1,500 metres (7).Top
Narcissus longispathus is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Changes in the water regime are one of the biggest threats to Narcissus longispathus, either through natural causes such as drought, or through artificial modification including the construction of dams and roads. Some subpopulations of Narcissus longispathus are vulnerable to trampling and grazing by herbivores, while wild populations are also targeted by collectors (1) (3).Top
Seeds from some of this species’ populations are stored in the Vegetal Andaluz gene bank and at the Botanical Garden of Torre del Vinagre (1). The Botanical GardenofCórdobaalso holds material in their ex-situ gene bank and is researching ways to improve methods of propagating the species (3).
There is also a recovery plan in place for Narcissus longispathus (1).Top
Find out more
Find out more about Narcissus longispathus:
Blanca, G. et al. (Eds.) Libro Rojo de la Flora Silvestre Amenazada de Andalucía. Tomo I: Especies en Peligro de Extinción. Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía, Sevilla. Available at:
Find out more about plant conservation:
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- The cup-shaped or trumpet-shaped outgrowth at the centre of a daffodil or narcissus flower.
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Measures to conserve a species that occur outside of the natural range of the species. For example, in zoos or botanical gardens.
- Genetic variation
- The variety of genes within a particular species, population or breed causing differences in morphology, physiology and behaviour.
- A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
- Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
- In plants, known as the gynoecium, the female reproductive organs of a flower.
- A plant that normally lives for more than two seasons. After an initial period, the plant produces flowers once a year.
- The outer envelope of a flower, typically comprising of an inner whorl (calyx) of sepals or floral leaves, and an inner whorl (corolla) of petals.
- The transfer of pollen grains from the stamen (male part of a flower) to the stigma (female part of a flower) of a flowering plant. This usually leads to fertilisation, the development of seeds and, eventually, a new plant.
- In plants, a leafless flower stalk.
- A floral leaf (collectively comprising the calyx of the flower) that forms the protective outer layer of a flower bud.
IUCN Red List (May, 2011)
The Daffodil Society (May, 2011)
Herrera, C.M. et al. 1999. Narcissus longispathus Pugsey. In: Blanca, G. et al. (Eds.) Libro Rojo de la Flora Silvestre Amenazada de Andalucía. Tomo I: Especies en Peligro de Extinción. Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía, Sevilla. Available at:
- Medrano, M. and Herrera, C.M. (2008) Geographical structuring of genetic diversity across the whole distribution range of Narcissus longispathus, a habitat-specialist, Mediterranean narrow endemic. Annals of Botany, 102: 183-194.
- Heywood, V.H. (1978) Flowering Plants of the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Barrett, S.C.H., Cole, W.W. and Herrera, C.M. (2004) Mating patterns and genetic diversity in the wild daffodil Narcissus longispathus (Amaryllidaceae). Heredity, 92: 459-465.
- Herrera, C.M. (1995) Floral biology, microclimate and pollination by ecothermic bees in an early-blooming herb. Ecology, 76(1): 218-228.
Doñana Biological Station - Natural history and research on Narcissus longispathus (May, 2011)
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