Tazettae – tazettas

N. tazettae subsp. ochroleucus? in south-east France

The RHS classification lists

N. barlae
N. bertolonii with four varieties
N. × cadevallii
N. canariensis
N. cypri
N. dubius with two varieties
N. elegans with five varieties and two forms
N. italicus
N. pachybolbus
N. panizzianus
N. papyraceus
N. patulus
N. polyanthos
N. puccinellii
N. × rogendorfii
N. rotularis
N. tazetta with six subspecies
N. tortifolius

As the map on page 47 of John Blanchard’s book shows, the main distribution of narcissus from the section Tazettae is close to the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, clockwise from Southern Portugal round to Morocco in North Africa. N. tazetta var. orientalis (= N. tazetta subsp. lacticolor) the ‘Chinese Sacred Lily’ is thought not to be a truly native plant because its distribution is linked to ancient silk trading routes.

N. patulus? in south-central France (photo Ron Crabtree)

Most tazettas grow at heights close to sea level and flower earlier than most other narcissus species, which may be the reason why they have attracted much less interest in recent years from daffodil enthusiasts who have made trips to see narcissus growing in the wild.

N. dubius in southern France

Narcissus dubius is the smallest of the tazettas. It was originally deemed to be a wild hybrid (N. × dubius) between N. papyraceus and N. assoanus but since it sets seed freely it has now been accorded true species status.