N. lagoi

The latest posting from Jan and Lynne has arrived and has started us thinking of mountain jackets and climbing boots, because they have obviously wasted no time in looking for daffodils, despite the rain that is an inevitable accompaniment to any Galician trip. James and I have looked for N. “Cedric Morris” around Luarca so often that our children always say, in response to enquiries as to our whereabouts ” oh, they’re probably looking for Cedric Morris”. We have also searched for N. lagoi following Jan’s instructions. The first time we looked we had a sort of mantra that we repeated, based on his directions, “up a lane, near a barn, low lying field” and failed utterly to find it. I remember Jan’s patient response when we rang him from northern Spain in the gathering dark, four tired frustrated searchers demanding that he tell us where to find them. One thing that stands out from reading his post sent 30 January – you can’t go to Spain too early, even northern Spain. When Jan rang us to say that he had found N. lagoi flowering so early our immediate response was is it ‘Cedric Morris’? Now read on:

Narcissus lagoi; Narcissus minor; N.’Cedric Morris’.

     About 10 or 11 years ago, Lynne and I revisited Galicia to try and find N.cyclamineus and hopefully, N. lagoi. This latter plant being the one as described in John Blanchard’s book on Narcissus species in the wild and attributed to Merino some 80-90 years ago, if my memory serves me well?

     We did,in fact, find more N. cyclamineus than you could shake a stick at and in several previously unrecorded locations.(It had long been thought that N. cyclamineus was only to be found on a private estate nearer the lower altitude coastal area of Western Galicia, but we found it fairly well inland and higher than one might have expected.). That trip was in the 2nd-3rd week in March and whilst there were places we found the N. cyclamineus setting seed, we still found plenty in full, fresh flower.

     Our other quarry was somewhat less easy to trace, partly because so little was known about N. lagoi save the few brief notes in John’s book, which suggested it was found West of Lugo, near or within the confines of an electricity/power station? It’s description was somewhat bemusing – a section Pseudonarcissus type flower with flowers larger than N.asturiensis and stems that varied between 10-50cm tall!

      That year we headed towards Lugo on a minor road(if you’ll pardon the pun} that approached from due West and we searched several side roads off this road as we went along. About 3kms from Friol (to see on map click here) we found a couple of fields full of N. bulbocodium in prime condition(at Xia) and then further on from this tiny village we found what looked like daffodil foliage and just an odd straggly, end of season flower of Pseudonarcissus persuasion. Most of the plants were well into seed set and must have been in full flower some 4-6 weeks earlier than when we were. There were only two or three late,late flowers left in any fit condition to identify them accurately and even these were not good. Many of the plants were growing in the cart tracks at the rear of a stone barn, that was close to a small stream that obviously kept them supplied with sufficient moisture. I remember it being very hot that year, even in March. Along the banks of the stream were brambles and every so often a small clump of daffodil leaves where more of the same plants grew. On further inspection, these stretched into the grassy field that followed the streams course, though here again, only foliage and the odd seed pod was visible.

 Where the brambles grew, the foliage and flower stems with seed pods were markedly taller than the plants growing in the more open cart tracks. We had found what we believed could well be similar plants toMerino’s N. lagoi?

 The plants were roughly twice the average size of N. asturiensis and certainly, more upright in their habit and with flowers pointing above the horizontal plane. The foliage at this stage was quite broad, plicate and much longer than that of N. asturiensis.

 My initial thoughts were yes it could be N. lagoi, but equally, could it be N. minor, bearing in mind that the flowers were not too dissimilar to N. asturiensis and that N. asturiensis was at one time known as N. minor. minimus! Which would tie in with what we were seeing. Unfortunately, N. minor seems to be a stumbling block with amateur and professional enthusiasts/botanists alike,no one seeming to agree on their appearance, or even existence!

      There has been quite a lot of interest shown in the last few years about N. ‘Cedric Morris’ and its origin/location in the wild and the wonderfully graphic story of its capture and provenance. It was, as you will have no doubt read earlier, found in Galicia near to the town of Luarca on the Northern coast of Spain, growing alongside the main coast road (N634)West towards Ribadeo and A Coruna in Dec/Jan in full flower.

Although the N634 still exists in part this has been superseded by a more modern autovia and previous improvements to the N634 have seen habitats and locations disappear, where once our Narcissus grew.

      I know that James and Wendy Akers have searched and better searched for any sign or remnants of ‘Cedric Morris’ in and around Luarca in December, January and February for the last two years, without success. Similarly, Lynne and I have looked every time we have come this way, sadly, with the same result. The reason I mention all this is because, having just two days ago revisited our original N. lagoi location near Friol on January 28th 2013, we found it in flower and as fresh as could be. We duly sent a photograph of one of the flowers to James and Wendy and one to Jackie Petherbridge for their thoughts.

       James quickly replied to say how much it looked like ‘Cedric Morris’ and I said that was not surprising as ‘Cedric Morris’ is a clone of N.minor(as it was in those days) and I still think that ‘our’ N. lagoi is, or could be, N. minor?  We are due to revisit the ‘N. lagoi‘ location again in several days time, when the rest of the plants should be in full bloom and give a better idea as to their identity. We will also, as James has asked, collect a leaf sample, which will be sent to Professor/Dr Zonneveld for DNA testing and a more scientific analysis of its possible identity or link to N. minor?

      We will be here in Galicia in Echo, our 26′ 4 tonnes motorhome, for the next few weeks and will be searching for any other Narcissus species in the area and perhaps an odd day or two’s foray into Northern Portugal in the Serra de Geres (to see on map click here) where we have previously found daffodils. We will also be acting as guides to a party of four Daffodil Society enthusiasts in March, when Reg Nicholl, Jackie Petherbridge, Gwynne Davies and Ron Cain(?) fly over for a weeks field trip with us.

So watch this space for more photos and reports.

Jan & Lynne Dalton

Galicia, North-West Spain, January 2013


9 thoughts on “N. lagoi”

  1. Hello James, Wendy and all daffodil enthusiasts,

    Thank you for publishing my daffodil notes from Spain so quickly, I hope they will be of some interest to those of you who,like us, delight in searching out wild daffodils in their natural habitat.

    I can see more than the odd raised eyebrow at my suggestion that Dr Giuseppi was responsible for finding N.lagoi originally! Obviously, in my haste to get the notes sent off quickly to James, I opted for the wrong author’s name. I had an idea that I had picked the wrong name shortly after I sent the email off and on further checking, it was,of course Merino.(He said, rather sheepishly!). My apologies for that error.

    However, I do hope you will respond to the notes and let us know what you think, or whether you have any other info about N.lagoi/N.minor/ N.’Cedric Morris’?

    For now, Hasta luego!
    Jan & Lynne Dalton

    1. It was partly our fault, you did ask us to check it in John Blanchard’s book, but we couldn’t put our hands on it at the time. All the Giuseppis have now been changed to Merino

  2. Thanks for that James, that will teach me not to forget to pack John’s book on board in future! It is the first time I have set off without it since it was published. It may be 23 years old now, but it is still a good reference work.

  3. Many, many thanks, Jan and Lynne, for sharing your trip with other daffodil fanciers, and to James for posting them. It brings back good memories of past trips. I look forward to the next installment!

  4. Hi Mary Lou, So lovely to hear from you again. Glad to know you are reading our notes of our travels around Spain etc. We keep expecting to bump into you on the next mountain top, like we used to! When are you coming over to Spain again?
    There’s room on our motorhome for a wild daffodil enthusiast. Are you still a ‘wild one’? Keep watching and love to all in the ADS. Jan & Lynne

  5. Hi Jan and Lynne,
    Yes, I’m still a ‘wild one’. 🙂 I’ll not be making a trip to Spain this year, though. Maybe next year. I think my usual travelling companions are planning something for March. As you’re in the area around Friol, are you planning to look for N. cyclamineus nearby? We found some not too far away in 2003. Goodness, hard to believe that was 10 years ago!
    Mary Lou

  6. Good report Jan and Lynne, I remember the site well after you directed us to it several years ago. I felt that one of the common distinguishing characteristics of N. lagoi was the prominant upstanding spathe – as in the much larger N. longispathus. Ben Zonneveld I think equates N. lagoi with N.asturiensis var vilarvidensis, both tetraploids.
    I have visited Vilar-Vildas (alas in MAy) and only found seed pods and foliage – both larger and more robust tha I expected from any form of N. asturiensis. You might be in time to see it in flower. If you head S on the AS227 from Asturias airport and turn of right for Piguena and proceed to the cul-de-sac vilar-Vildas you can stop in the pub for a drink and the owner will direct you to a sloping field at the back of the village – you pass through a few gates and climb a few fences but it is only about 200 yards from the pub. I just hope you can turn your vehicle in the village!!! And of course you are close to Somiedo where lots of fine things are to be found – or were in MAy 3 years ago.
    I’m envious of your extended travels – I go to Madrid for a week in March.
    Good hunting and keep reporting.
    Brian Duncan

    1. Hello Brian,

      Thanks for your response and words of wisdom. I have read about N.asturiensis var.villarvildensis in the last couple of years and was fortunate to have picked up a very useful tome in Potes last year entitled Guia de las joyas de la Botanica de Asturias by Tomas Emilio Diaz Gonzalez and Antonio Vasquez. This has a number of Narcissus species listed and several hybrids, along with photographs. Luckily, there is a photo of N.asturiensis var.villarvildensis, which does match the appearance of our N.lagoi, excepting its stature, which is indeterminable? If indeed our plant of N.lagoi is N.asturiensis var.villarvildensis, could it not still be true that it could also be what was once referred to as N.minor and N.asturiensis as N.minor var.minimus? Perhaps when Ben Zonnefeld gets the leaf, that is already in transit to James, he might shed a bit more light on the identity?
      Thanks for the info re the vllage, we will give it a try, you’d be surprised where I take the motorhome, Lires was a bit tight I can tell you!
      Keep watching Brian. Love to all, Jan & Lynne

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