The Narcissi are essentially flowers of spring. They are all beautiful, and there is a very considerable number of varieties and species in cultivation. In fact, there are perhaps too many varieties: there are certainly too many names; for they greatly exceed the number of distinct sorts. Certain connoisseurs profess to discern well-marked specific distinctions, where ordinary observers fail to detect even the merest differences in form or colour. But independently of the confusion of nomenclature and embarrassing synonymy that one has to face in taking up the genus as a subject of study, there is a strong attraction induced by their fragrance and beauty, which helps to overcome the natural repugnance arising therefrom. The following brief list is not vouched for as being more scientifically correct than any other, but it contains the names of some of the best sorts in cultivation; and they have the additional merit also of being generally known by the names attached to them, which is not always the case with many other varieties; for many are merely known to a few who make a speciality of the genus, and distribute them one to another in the way of exchange.

Narcissus Biflorus

This is a strong-growing sort, with broad glaucous leaves a foot or more long. The flowers, usually in pairs, but sometimes solitary, are large, the divisions of the corolla overlapping each other in their ample breadth; the crown is yellow and cup-shaped.

Narcissus Bicolor

This is one of the most beautiful, and certainly not one of the most plentiful. The petals or divisions of the corolla are very light canary, and the crown, which is long and trumpet-shaped, is a fine saffron colour.

Narcissus Bulbocodium

Narcissus Bulbocodium - the Hoop-petticoat Narcissus - is one of the most singular, as well as one of the most beautiful, of the genus. There is no confounding it with any other species: it is so thoroughly distinct and characteristic, that it is by some authors held to be worthy of a separate generic status and name. The leaves are almost cylindrical and rush-like, the flowers composed of very narrow strap-like petals, and the crown very long, wide, and expanding elegantly and vase-like; and both crown and petals are a very bright and pleasing tone of yellow.

Narcissus Incomparabilis

Narcissus Incomparabilis, and its variety, called bicoloratus, are striking and handsome. The foliage is broad, massive, and long, deeply glaucous, and in fine harmony with the soft canary of the flowers.

Narcissus Jonquilla - The Jonquil

Narcissus Jonquilla - The Jonquil - though not one of the showiest, is one that should be in every garden on account of its peculiarly delicate and pleasing fragrance. Being also one of the earliest to appear, it is the more welcome and desirable.

Narcissus Empress

This is a fine garden form, one of the boldest and most striking, with immensely large golden-yellow flowers, the trumpet-shaped crown being very long, and expanding wide.

Narcissus Maclean

A very distinct and fine sort, with, for the vigour and robustness of the plant, comparatively short leaves, which usually do not exceed half the length of the flower-scapes. The latter ascend to about a foot high, sometimes terminating in two flowers, but more commonly in one flower only, the petals being broad and overlapping, pure white; while the crown, which is about half an inch long, is bright yellow.

Narcissus Mos-Chatus

Of this there are some varieties well worth growing, but the most useful is the type with fine pale canary or maize-coloured petals and crown, and the double-flowered form, which is one of the handsomest of the group. Between this form and the Narcissus ceriums and cernuus plena occurs an illustration of the embarrassing synonymy alluded to a little farther back as cumbering this popular genus of spring flowers. I have failed to discern the distinction, whatever it may be, that is alleged to exist between these two so-called species, and think that one or other of the names should be expunged from lists.

Narcissus Minor

This is a diminutive Daffodil, and well worth a place in every garden. It does not exceed four or five inches in height, even when most luxuriant. The flowers are bright yellow, and the foliage is deeply glaucous: it is invaluable for edging lines or clumps in the front line of flower-borders.

Narcissus Sabinii

Narcissus Sabinii is one of the grandest and most striking of the group. The foliage is broad, massive, and erect. The petals are long and broad, overlapping each other, and deep canary-yellow; the golden crown is long and very wide, expanding, and slightly reflexed at the mouth, and crimped on the margin. This is without any superior in the yellow Daffodil single-flowered section: there is a massiveness and grandeur about the whole plant that is only approached in two other varieties that have come under my notice - and they are Emperor and Empress; but both these, while they are in no way superior to Sabinii, are too near in character to be desirable in the same collection - that is, if it is to be distinctive in its components. Amongst the double-flowered forms of the Daffodil section I shall only notice two, which are the best that I have met with. They are telamonius plenus - a fine golden-yellow, double in the most emphatic sense, and more resembling a double African Marigold than a Narcissus - and Pseudo-Narcissus grandiplenus, similar in style to the preceding, but less golden than yellow. The name is evidently the creation of some enthusiastic amateur, whose love of the sort tided him over the fear of dislocating his jaw.

Pseudo-Narcissus is bad enough to pronounce with any degree of elegance and ease, but followed by such a quadrisyllable as grandiplenus, pronunciation becomes hazardous.

Narcissus Poeticus

Narcissus Poeticus being one of the latest of the genus to appear in flower, generally well on towards the end of May, or even in the beginning of June, in the north, is one of the best worth cultivating, independently of its great beauty and elegance. It is inferior to none in its attractive elegance; while in the delicacy of its perfume it surpasses perhaps every other species in the genus. The double form of this lovely species is a very useful one, being as fragrant as a Gardenia, and not inferior to that flower in shape, and at the same time more durable, being less liable also to become discoloured than it. It is one of the best cut-flowers of its season.

Narcissus Tazetta

Narcissus Tazetta, the parent of the Polyanthus Narcissus, is so distinct in its character that it deserves a place in every collection. Were it for no other reason than its early-flowering quality, it is worthy of being cultivated; but it is also a very fragrant sort, and offers a good many varieties of considerable elegance and beauty.