Narcissi and Daffodils belong to the family Amaryllidaceae and the genus Narcissus. There is no botanical difference between them, though the varieties with long trumpets and single flowers tend to be called Daffodils and those with shorter trumpets and multiple flowers per stem tend to be called Narcissi. In Greek mythology, Narcissus was the youth who drowned in a pool as a result of obsessing over his reflection. The other derivation of Narcissus refers to its narcotic properties, and indeed their bulbs are poisonous and their leaves can irritate the skin. The bulbs first appeared in nursery catalogues in the late 18th century and the Daffodil Society was established in 1898.
All Narcissus species have a central corona surrounded by a ring of six floral leaves. Paperwhite Narcissi have multiple white, highly fragrant flowers with short trumpets. They are easy to force into flower and are often sold for indoor flowering at Christmas. Outdoors, they like to be planted in the autumn at a depth three times that of the bulb, and will flower in March-April. To achieve a natural result, the bulbs can be broadcast and planted where they fall. After flowering, their leaves shouldn’t be removed until they have died down, and the temptation to plait, twist or knot them should be resisted at all costs.