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Narcissus vs Daffodil

Perris, CA(Zone 9a)

Hi, everybody!! What is the difference between a Daffodil and a Narcissus? I ordered several Narcissus bulbs from a mail order catalog last year. However, the flowers weren't what I had envisioned when they bloomed.

Has anyone had a similar experience?



Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

They're both in the same genus, Narcissus. I'm not sure what exactly distinguishes ones that get the common name narcissus vs daffodil, but they are very similar to each other (and most of the entries in Plant Files appear to list both narcissus and daffodil as common names). But there are a lot of different cultivars which look somewhat different than each other, so if you ordered without seeing a picture of what you were ordering, and were expecting it to look like some other narcissus that you knew from before, chances are the one you were remembering was a different cultivar than the one you ordered. Do you know the cultivar name of the one you ordered? You can look it up in Plant Files and see what it was supposed to look like.

Perris, CA(Zone 9a)

Thanks, ecrane3,

I looked the two cultivars up on Plant Files. They were Narcissus (Tiandrus) 'Stint' and Narcissus 'Segovia'. Both are beautiful and I didn't mean to take away from their beauty. However, I had always thought that Narcissus and Daffodils were the same plant. Totally my mistake.

Thanks again,


(Zone 3a)

Hi Chuck

My experience with narcissus & daffodils is somewhat limited but it seems to me that narcissus often have a smaller bloom with a small "bell" centre or, more frequently, a "ruffled" centre & often are quite fragrant. Daffodils tend to be larger & have a "bell" in the centre.

The limitations of availability in our zone & "squirrel intervention" cannot be blamed entirely for my lacklustre success with these bulbs! I now tend to rely more on forcing bulbs in the house during the relentlessly long winter months of Jan/Feb. Paper whites are my favourite for both productivity & perfume. I can count on a profusion of blooms three weeks from when the the bulb roots first start to appear!

As I said, am no expert, but hope this helps a bit.


Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Okay everybody, I have another one to add: What's a jonquil? Another name for narcissus or daffodil? Or something else entirely?


Tuscaloosa, AL(Zone 7b)

As unscientific as this is, here's how they were differentiated when I was growing up. Jonquil was the name used in the mid-west where my mom's family was from. Daffodil was the name used on he west coast where I was raised. Narcissus were the small-flowered old-fashioned original genus, now often called paper-whites, and they were fragrant. Jonquils/daffodils were large-flowered narcissus. I remember being told that all jonquils/daffodils were narcissus, but all narcissus were not daffodils.


Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Narcissus and Daffodil are the same plant, they are called different names in lots of places around the world, but the true name is Narcissus, Ecrane is right again, there are literally hundreds of different types, colours and size of these bulbs/plants, some are very small in stature, some are very tall, some are more often used for naturalising where others grow better in pots or indoors, if you wish to grow a certain type, you would be far better buying the bulbs from a reputable grower or in a labeled package from your garden center, but always remember, the picture on the packet on some occasions look brighter or different from the actual flower you get growing, soil type, light, and different conditions can also make such a difference to the height, colour etc too, but there should not be too much of a difference that you dont recognise them, at planting time which is now, you should set the bulbs to a depth of 3 times the size of the bulbs, so if your bulb is say 2 inch from root end to the growing tip, then the bulbs should be 6 inched deep in the soil, also add some well roted animal manure or compost with a general plant food added, use the amount stated on the package and mix this into the planting hole, they also dont like there feet too wet so if you have a really damp soil the bulbs will either rot or send up just greenery and no flowers, this is called growing blind, add some sharp horticultural sand or grit to the bottom of the planting hole to correct the wetness of the soil. hope all this helps you a bit. good luck. Weenel.

Greensboro, AL


Narcissus is the generic name. Daffodil is the common name.
This article may help. There are 13 classifications. The range from tiny miniatures to the huge King Alfreds, and there are several shapes.

Littleton, CO(Zone 5a)

Hmm... when I go to that link, I get a thread on cabbage recipes???

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Let's see if this link works:


Yep, that's the Narcissus (etc...) article

This message was edited Oct 5, 2007 1:32 AM

Littleton, CO(Zone 5a)

Ah, much better. :)

Very interesting. I grew thinking (based on what my mother told me) that the single flower per stems were Daffodils and the multi-flowers per stem were Narcissus. Just goes to show you that parents will do there best, but sometimes they're still wrong. Oye-vay... and my 4 year old wants me to explain to him the difference between house flies and honey bees. (chuckle)

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Tell him all flies have two wings, and anything with two wings is a fly (Diptera). It's true, and then you're off the hook. Until he asks if Arbor vitae is a cedar, or whatever the next question is.

Greensboro, AL

Sorry, don't know how I did that. My new article is on sauerkraut. Not much connection between cabbage and narcissus/daffodils.

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