Paper White Narcissus (Narcissus papyraceus)

Paper White Narcissus (Narcissus papyraceus)

In the winter months around the Serrania, you really won’t need to go very far to see more Paper White Narcissus than you could ever dream of.

Around Ronda and the Pueblos Blancos – the white villages – you won’t even need to get off the beaten track. This  scented flower blooms in December through to February while the weather is cool, and if March and April are wet and cold they may stay in flower.

The Paper White Narcissus responds well to indirect light (and temperatures of 10 – 18 degrees celsius), and my own observation is that individuals may do well in full sun or exposed areas, but I generally see prettier clumps protected beside olive trees, or beside buildings.

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Description: It is a perennial, bulbous species up to 60 cm (24 inches). The leaves are erect and longer than the scape. Stalk greenish-blue, almost flat in cross section, supporting between 3 and 20 flowers in umbels. The flowers are white and fragrant. The corona is also white.

Preferring damp places, pastures, clearings, roadsides and fields, often covering large areas, this plant  is generally avoided by livestock which is why it can be profuse in pastures. It blooms during the winter from late december to March up to around 1000 m altitude (3280 feet).

Its curious common name in Andalucia “fox pee” (meao de zorro) possibly refers to the smell of the flowers, but they smell quite nice to me!

Most species of the genus Narcissus contain alkaloids that will give these species a greater or lesser degree of toxicity. Some species of this genus used in gardening can produce contact dermatitis in sensitive people who handle the flowers and / or bulbs without adequate protection.

Family: Amaryllidaceae
Synonyms:Narcissus linnaeanus
Distribution:Mediterranean- Portugal, Spain to Italy and Greece and North Africa

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After the flower has died, a green pea will remain on the end of the stem.

Nombre vulgar: Meados de zorra, Meazorras, Narciso blanco
Nombre científico: Narcissus papyraceus Ker Gawl.
English: Paper-white Narcissus
Français: Narcisse papyracé
Deutsch: Weihnachts-Narzisse
Italiano: Narciso papiraceo
Português: Narciso-de-inverno, mijaburro