Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus
Common Name: species daffodil 
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Europe
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White petals and red-rimmed yellow cup
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Wet Soil


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Unlike most other daffodils, this variety is noted for tolerating moist to wet soils in winter and during the spring growing season, with somewhat reduced moisture in summer and fall. Best in organically rich loams. Plant bulbs in early to mid fall. Planting depth depends upon bulb size. In St. Louis, each bulb should be planted 2 to 3 times as deep as the bulb, with at least 3” of soil over the top. After the flowers have bloomed in spring, the top portion of each flower stem may be removed, as practicable, to prevent seed formation, but foliage should not be cut back until it begins to yellow. Flowers usually face the sun, so bulbs should be grown with any shade areas at the rear of the planting. Bulbs can be left undisturbed for a number of years. If bloom quality and quantity decline over time, clumps may be divided by digging just after the foliage dies back.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus is classified as a wild species (Division X). By definition, Division X covers all species daffodils and varieties. N. poeticus var. recurvus (commonly called pheasant’s eye) is native to Europe. It rises 12-14” tall in spring. Each flower features recurved white petals (perianth segments) and a small yellow cup (corona) with a distinctive red rim. Blooms very late (April-May in St. Louis). Flowers have a sweet fragrance. Narrow, strap-shaped, green leaves in clumps.

Genus name honors a beautiful youth who became so entranced with his own reflection that he pined away and the gods turned him into this flower.

Specific epithet means pertaining to poets.


No serious insect or disease problems. With proper soil and culture, daffodils are noted for being almost pest-free. Bulb rot may occur in poorly-drained soils. Infrequent insect pests include narcissus bulb fly, narcissus nematode, slugs and snails. Bulb scale mite may occur. Narcissus yellow stripe virus is an infrequent problem.


Unlike tulips, daffodils keep blooming year after year. They are best sited in beds, borders, wild gardens, open woodland areas, in front of shrubs or massed under trees. They are best planted in quantity, i.e., from smaller groupings of at least 6 bulbs to large sweeping drifts. They mix well with other spring-flowering bulbs. This variety is noted for its tolerance for moist soils and is especially appropriate for natural settings.