Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Narcissus pseudonarcissus subsp. major (Curtis) Baker

Narcissus with single flowers with milky-white perianth segments and bright yellow corona, about 1.5cm broad and long.  [Baker Am.].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

According to Baker, a hybrid received by Alexander Macleay, then Secretary of the Linnaean Society of London, from France in 1819 and named Narcissus macleayi by John Lindley [BR f.762/1823]. ‘The other species, to which we have alluded, was presented to the Society, in 1820, by Alexander Macleay, Esq, from his garden at Tilburster; and is supposed to have been imported from Smyrna. Its appearance was very singular, and resembled a N. Tazetta become dwarf, with an umbel reduced to two flowers. The leaves were broad and green; the scape channelled, ancipitous, and nearly as much flattened as in N. compressus; spathe 1 or 2 flowered; peduncle an inch long, upright, and flattened; germen swollen and oval; tube 5/8 of an inch thick, cylindrical, enlarged at the top and green; petals white, imbricate, at 3/4right angles with the nectary, 3/4 of an inch long, the outer ones broader with a mucro; nectary 5/8 of an inch long, bright yellow, cylindrical, perfectly truncate, without notches or wrinkles. We have distinguished it by a name which will be always respected, so long as science and liberality continue to be objects of esteem.’  [BR f.762/1823]. Baker conisered it to be a sub-species of Narcissus pseudonarcissus rather than a hybrid, a view largely accepted today [Baker Am.].

‘An extremely rare bulbous plant, quite hardy, and flowering in April and May.  Our drawing was made in the Horticultural Society’s Garden.  Supposed to be a native of Smyrna.’  [BR f.987/1826].  William Herbert demonstrated that it was likely to be a cross between Narcissus pseudo-narcissus, and Narcissus tazetta.  [BR f.38/1843]. 

Narcissus macleayii was possibly introduced to British gardens much earlier than the early 19th century: ‘Old Parkinson describes his “small early white Daffodil with a large cup”. […] From this description, we have little hesitation in giving Parkinson’s plant as synonym of Narcissus macleayi.’  [BM t.2588/1825]. 

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.344/1843].


Published May 20, 2009 - 02:41 PM | Last updated Aug 08, 2012 - 04:22 PM

Depicted are bulb, leaves and bloom with white perianth and long yellow corona.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.2588, 1825.

Narcissus pseudonarcissus subsp. major (Curtis) Baker | BM t.2588/1825 as Narcissus macleaii | BHL


Family Amaryllidaceae
Region of origin

Probably garden origin, France

  • Narcissus macleayi Lindl.
  • Ajax concolor Jord.
  • Ajax glaucus M.Roem.
  • Ajax grandiflorus (Salisb.) Salisb.
  • Ajax hispanicus (Gouan) M.Roem.
  • Ajax lacinularis Salisb.
  • Ajax luteus Herb.
  • Ajax major (Curtis) Haw.
  • Ajax obvallaris (Salisb.) Haw.
  • Ajax propinquus (Salisb.) Haw.
  • Ajax spurius Haw.
  • Diomedes macleayi (Lindl.) Haw. ex Herb.
  • Diomedes major (Curtis) Haw.
  • Diomedes parkinsonii Haw.
  • Moskerion hispanicum (Gouan) Raf.
  • Narcissus confusus Pugsley
  • Narcissus coronatus DC.
  • Narcissus grandiflorus Salisb.
  • Narcissus hispanicus Gouan
  • Narcissus lobularis Schult. & Schult.f.
  • Narcissus major Curtis
  • Narcissus maximus Haw.
  • Narcissus obvallaris Salisb.
  • Narcissus propinquus Salisb.
  • Narcissus spurius (Haw.) Schult. & Schult.f.
  • Narcissus triandrus var. macleayi (Lindl.) Nyman
  • Queltia bernardii Fourr.
  • Queltia coronata (DC.) M.Roem.
  • Queltia maclayi (Lindl.) M.Roem.
  • Queltia macleana Herb.
  • Stephanophorum grandiflorus (Salisb.) Dulac


Common Name

Mr Macleay’s narcissus

Name in the Camden Park Record

Narcissus Macleayi 


Confidence level high