Plant

Narcissus Species, Propagation, Harms, and Diseases

Narcissus, the symbol of spring, is a plant genus that belongs to a flowering family of perennial (living more than two years), herbaceous plants known as Amaryllidaceae. The general height of this genus Narcissus is about 2.2 to 32 inches; dwarf Narcissus can grow up to 3.3 inches only. Commonly it is called Jonquil and Daffodil. This genus includes almost 50 species. It has been cultivated for several hundred years and now it has several other cultivars used for gardening and decorative purposes.

It has wide use in the cut flower industry and is grown on a large scale in Netherland. Almost all parts including bulbs and flowers are poisonous; having toxic alkaloids in them. Medicinal uses of these alkaloids specifically galantamine, have been designed to cure age-related Alzheimer’s disease.

Daffodil or Narcissus is the national flower of Wales. Giving someone Daffodils can have several means related to good luck, hatred, good culture, and death. It is commonly native to North Africa, Mediterranean regions, and Southern Europe[1]Manafi, H. and F. Nazari, The effect of storage temperature on biochemical changes in autumn daffodil bulbs (Sternbergia lutea (L.) Ker Gawl. ex Spreng.) and its impact on interactions with … Continue reading[2]Macneale, P., THE DAFFODIL. Read.

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Description of plant parts

Tepal is the term used for its petals (undifferentiated sepals and petals). A single, partially hollow main stem is called scapose. Flowers can either grow in solitary or stem nodes can have multiple flower blooms (20 flowers as a bunch) called an umbel. Sexual organs of flowers are packed in a structure called the perianth and seeds are black.

Stem in most of the time erected, straight (without further branching). Food storing organ bulb is produced after flowers and stem are diebacks. New plant bodies flowers and stems arise from these bulbs in the coming spring. The seeds remain dormant in the winter season. Oval-shaped brown bulbs are produced underground. Narcissus species have narrow and long leaves. Its leaves are either sessile or have petioles (helping part of stem nodules moving leaves towards the sun).

Its flowers are hermaphrodite (having both kinds of gametes, male and female, in the same flower). Flowers vary from white to yellow in colors. The different floral arrangements such as erected type (N. cavanillesii), deflexed type (N. triandrus), declinate ascendant (N. alpestris = N. pseudonarcissus subsp. moschatus), horizontal ( N. gaditanus or N. poeticus), and in between there types are seen in this genera[3]Gümüş, C., A review of researches on sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum L.) plant. Derim (Turkey), 2015. Read.

Different shapes and shades of Narcissus genera are shown in the picture.

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Common species

1. Narcissus poeticus

Extremely fragrant white flowers are seen in this species. It has a common name poet’s daffodil is the most common and famous name for it. It is also known as Peasant’s eyes and Nargis. It is the most toxic of all if consumed. It is the 1st cultivar of daffodil among all varieties. It is native to Western Europe[4]Ehret, C., P. Maupetit, and M. Petrzilka, New organoleptically important constituents of Narcissus absolute (Narcissus poeticus L.). Journal of Essential Oil Research, 1992. 4(1): p. 41-47. Read.

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2. Narcissus pseudonarcissus

The common name for this species is lent lily and it is also famous for the name of wild daffodil. Its seeds are more in the dormant stage of the life cycle and these can take 4 to 6 years for germinating into a new flowering plant.

Most commonly it is native to Germany, Wales, and England. River Dove is famous for its natural habitat for this wild daffodil variety. In recent years, a cultivar of N. pseudonarcissus having double-colored flowers of daffodils has been reported. An alkaloid called lycorine is mostly found in the bulbs of the plan[5]Sage, D.O., J. Lynn, and N. Hammatt, Somatic embryogenesis in Narcissus pseudonarcissus cvs. Golden Harvest and St. Keverne. Plant science, 2000. 150(2): p. 209-216. Read.

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3. Narcissus triandrus

The common name for this species is Angel’s tears. It is a variety with short height. It only grows up to 12 inches (1 foot). It is also called a bulbous dwarf. The flower arrangement is of reflexed type. It has a creamy and yellowish bloom of flowers. It is adaptable to the Mediterranean as well as Northern atmosphere.

The size of a plant can vary according to the region of its cultivation. Its natural spread is by pollination. An arthropod, Anthophora (Bombus) helps in natural pollination. This plant species has also won the famous award, Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit[6]Sage, T.L., et al., Differential ovule development following self‐and cross‐pollination: the basis of self‐sterility in Narcissus triandrus (Amaryllidaceae). American Journal of Botany, 1999. … Continue reading.

Javier martin, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6405046

4. Narcissus jonquilla

Narcissus jonquilla is also known as a rush daffodil. The other common name for this species is jonquil. Jonquil is native to many regions such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, and France. This is also bulbous flowering species with narrow, thin, and long rush-like leaves. The appearance of leaves is just like rushy grass-like. All of its cultivars are used as ornamental plants. It is poisonous to dogs and animals alike[7]Roein, Z., M.H. Asil, and B. Rabiei, Silver thiosulphate in relation to vase life of narcissus cut flowers (Narcissus jonquilla). Horticulture Environment and Biotechnology, 2009. 50(4): p. 308-312. … Continue reading.

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5. Narcissus papyraceus

Genus Narcissus also has white flowering plant species. As the name indicates, it has a resemblance with white paper made for writing in ancient times. This is majorly used as ornamental plants; especially in house gardens. Flowers have multiple blooms (umbel).

Its flowers are also used for making perfumes because of their strong fragrance. Its bulb grows the new plant in almost any weather condition. Direct sunlight is damaging to the bloom. Bloom is prolonged with indirect sunlight. Even water containers are enough for the growth of new plantlets from bulbs[8]Tarakemeh, A., et al., Screening of Amaryllidaceae alkaloids in bulbs and tissue cultures of Narcissus papyraceus and four varieties of N. tazetta. Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis, … Continue reading.

Dominicus Johannes Bergsma, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31687703

Propagation of Daffodils

Naturally, insect pollination is the base of the spread and crossing of the plant. Major insects are enlisted as flies, hawk moths, crepuscular moths, butterflies, and bees (Bombus). Some species like paper-white species (Narcissus papyraceus) are pollinated with the help of sphingid moths[9]Simón‐Porcar, V.I., R. Santos‐Gally, and J. Arroyo, Long‐tongued insects promote disassortative pollen transfer in style‐dimorphic Narcissus papyraceus (Amaryllidaceae). Journal of Ecology, … Continue reading.

Generally, two common methods are used for the artificial propagation of daffodils

1. Bulb division

The bulbs of the related species are cut into small pieces of 2 to 5cm. then these bulbs are buried into the fresh soil having proper drainage capacity. For larger species, the bulb is buried somewhat deep into the peat soil with a mixture of other organic matter. The depth is 10 to 15 cm for the larger species while for the dwarf ones, the depth should be less than 7 cm. The sunny area is preferred for sowing. The bone meal is added into the dig hole before bulbs.

2. Seed propagation

The depth of sowing seeds for propagation is kept low. Moisture and shad are maintained for quick plantlet development. It might take 3 years for its first bloom. The seeds are just slightly covered with soil. Germination will be seen in 1 to 2 months. Transplantation into sunny areas is mostly done in the autumn season when the plant is grown[10]Hanks, G.R. and A. Rees, Twin-scale propagation of narcissus: a review. Scientia horticulturae, 1979. 10(1): p. 1-14. Read.

Care of Narcissus

  1. Some key points have to be considered for the care of Narcissus.
  2. Proper watering should be maintained.
  3. A low level of nitrogen fertilizers is required sometimes for enhancing the growth and bloom quality.
  4. When your Narcissus is done with its blooming period, you must cut the stalks full to the ground level.
  5. If the foliage of your Narcissus has died back completely; use its bulbs for further division propagation.
  6. Proper sunlight is recommended for healthy bloom.
  7. The ideal pH of the soil should be between 6.0 and 8.
  8. A bone meal is a meal with a low level of nitrogen. It is to be provided at regular intervals.
  9. Let the leaves die back completely, before propagating through bulb division.
  10. In hot climates, direct sunlight may affect the bloom quality.
  11. Spring feeds are necessarily important[11]Trinklein, D.H., Care of flowering potted plants (2014). Lawn and garden, 2014. Read.

Harms of Narcissus

The alkaloids obtained from Narcissus are used to cure Alzheimer’s disease Lycorine is a chemical compound that belongs to the alkaloid group. Narcissus bulbs have the most elevated levels of lycorine. If one eats any part of this toxic plant it can lead to major stomach disturbance.

It can lead to vomiting, nausea, stomach aches, and can lead to severe diarrheal conditions. It is also damaging to the liver. Many reports have been registered to depict its associations with low blood pressure issues and drowsiness. Due to the Narcissus poisoning, no death is reported yet.

Another chemical, oxalate is also found in the Narcissus plant. These chemicals form the crystals which are like needles. Oxalates can cause irritations and burning sensations in lips and throat areas. Skin irritation and inflammation are also reported. Both of these chemicals are also toxic for the pets like dogs, cats, and even horses.

The solution for these issues is in the treatment of symptoms. Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration. If irritation in the lips and throat and skin is there, wash the area with clean water. If symptoms persist, immediate medical attention is recommended. Plant this kind of toxic ornamental plant away from the range of pets and children. Keep eyes on kids while they are near Narcissus[12]Julian, C.G. and P.W. Bowers, Harmful effects due to Narcissus and its constituents, in Narcissus and Daffodil. 2002, CRC Press. p. 419-427. Read.

Diseases of Narcissus

Many viral agents are causing damage to the foliage of the Narcissus genus. Among these agents, common viruses are Narcissus latent virus, Narcissus white streak virus, Narcissus degeneration virus, Narcissus yellow stripe virus, and Narcissus mosaic virus. These are transmitted by insect vectors (wasps and aphids).

Narcissus is also affected by pseudomonas sp. and P. carotovorum sp. Insect pests also have significant importance in this context. Two major insect agents belonging to order Diptera cause damage to Narcissus. Ditylenchus dipsaci (Narcissus eelworm) can cause a disease known as basal plate disease. Other nematodes are also reported for damaging roots of the Narcissus.

Narcissus smoulder and basal root rot are caused by fungal agents, Botrytis narcissicola and Fusarium oxysporum respectively. Botrytis is a pathological condition caused by Botrytis cinerea. In this fungal infection in which improperly stored bulbs of Narcissus genera face damage to their roots and bulbs are badly damaged. There is another condition termed blue mold rot.

This condition is caused by Penicillium sp. Black slime, leaf spot, white mold disease, and rust lesions are caused by Sclerotinia bulborum, Peyronellaea curtisii, Ramularia vallisumbrosae, and Aecidium narcissi respectively[13]Brunt, A. A review of problems and progress in research on viruses and virus diseases of Narcissus in Britain. in V International Symposium on Virus diseases of Ornamental Plants 110. 1980. Read.

References

References
1 Manafi, H. and F. Nazari, The effect of storage temperature on biochemical changes in autumn daffodil bulbs (Sternbergia lutea (L.) Ker Gawl. ex Spreng.) and its impact on interactions with photoperiod and morphological indices. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum, 2021. 43(1): p. 1-14. Read
2 Macneale, P., THE DAFFODIL. Read
3 Gümüş, C., A review of researches on sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum L.) plant. Derim (Turkey), 2015. Read
4 Ehret, C., P. Maupetit, and M. Petrzilka, New organoleptically important constituents of Narcissus absolute (Narcissus poeticus L.). Journal of Essential Oil Research, 1992. 4(1): p. 41-47. Read
5 Sage, D.O., J. Lynn, and N. Hammatt, Somatic embryogenesis in Narcissus pseudonarcissus cvs. Golden Harvest and St. Keverne. Plant science, 2000. 150(2): p. 209-216. Read
6 Sage, T.L., et al., Differential ovule development following self‐and cross‐pollination: the basis of self‐sterility in Narcissus triandrus (Amaryllidaceae). American Journal of Botany, 1999. 86(6): p. 855-870. Read
7 Roein, Z., M.H. Asil, and B. Rabiei, Silver thiosulphate in relation to vase life of narcissus cut flowers (Narcissus jonquilla). Horticulture Environment and Biotechnology, 2009. 50(4): p. 308-312. Read
8 Tarakemeh, A., et al., Screening of Amaryllidaceae alkaloids in bulbs and tissue cultures of Narcissus papyraceus and four varieties of N. tazetta. Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis, 2019. 172: p. 230-237. Read
9 Simón‐Porcar, V.I., R. Santos‐Gally, and J. Arroyo, Long‐tongued insects promote disassortative pollen transfer in style‐dimorphic Narcissus papyraceus (Amaryllidaceae). Journal of Ecology, 2014. 102(1): p. 116-125. Read
10 Hanks, G.R. and A. Rees, Twin-scale propagation of narcissus: a review. Scientia horticulturae, 1979. 10(1): p. 1-14. Read
11 Trinklein, D.H., Care of flowering potted plants (2014). Lawn and garden, 2014. Read
12 Julian, C.G. and P.W. Bowers, Harmful effects due to Narcissus and its constituents, in Narcissus and Daffodil. 2002, CRC Press. p. 419-427. Read
13 Brunt, A. A review of problems and progress in research on viruses and virus diseases of Narcissus in Britain. in V International Symposium on Virus diseases of Ornamental Plants 110. 1980. Read

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