Is Narcissus Willkommii the Smallest Daffodil Ever?

April 9, 2013 old 022 (2)
The article said this was the very smallest, the tiniest, the most microscopic of all the daffodils. The name and provenance of said article was not written down, but the name of this rare specimen was noted in the gardening journal, Narcissus willkommii.

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Years passed by but that name stayed etched in the memory banks, always on the lookout for it to appear at a nursery or more likely, in an online catalog. So it was that last summer, as the bulb orders were being assembled, a quite willy nilly process actually, that the elusive most tiny was seen for sale at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

Sierra Exif JPEG
Upon arrival the five little bulbs went into a special place, the raised box planter where the Dahlias overwinter in the ground. Duly planted at the proper depth, a piece of hardware cloth was positioned on top, secured by landscape pins, to keep digging varmints from ruining my preciouses. Even with those security measures, some evil critter dug a large hole right next to the edge of the metal wire square. A large rock was placed over top after the soil was returned and patted down as we hoped for the best possible outcome when spring finally arrived.

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The foliage showed early on, like blades of grass. Other small daffodils already growing here had similar leaves, Narcissus jonquilla simplex and Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Golden Bells’.

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The first flowers of N. willkommii opened today. A slug was chomping on one of the flowers, caught in the act by the gardening photographer. Flicked off with the mighty thumb and middle finger maneuver, it was noticed that another bloom was totally eaten down to the stem. These flowers are quite small and it seems quite tasty to the nasty slimeballs. Coffee grounds will be added as a deterrent, today. Onward.

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Using my thumbnail as a measuring device, I could not tell which of the tiny daffs we grow was the smallest. Wanting verification and possessing a six inch ruler, and loving experiments, each of the smaller daffs, and some larger ones just because, were noted in pixels.

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A last minute bulb purchase at the end of 2012, N. ‘Minnow’ was measured first. It is too cute!

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Next came the hoopskirt daffodil, N. ‘Golden Bells’.

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N. jonquilla simplex suddenly did not seem quite as small as once was thought.

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N. willkommii is a clear winner as the smallest daffodil flower, growing in the Fairegarden, and maybe the whole world. But they are all winners, of course, and we love every single one of them!


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16 Responses to Is Narcissus Willkommii the Smallest Daffodil Ever?

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What a wonderful collection of tiny daffs. I have one small yellow one. I will have to try to find the white one you have. The small ones seem to reproduce quite well once established. I love to bring in their tiny trumpets for close observance. Have a great weekend.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by, and you too, have a lovely weekend. The littles are so sweet. That is good to know that they are also robust.

  2. Anne Boykin says:

    Hi Frances, I’ll have to look for these bulbs for my garden. I’m loving the thought of these little beauties peeking out from under my other plants. Isn’t spring wonderful?

    Hi Anne, thanks for stopping by. Spring is indeed very wonderful. The littles are so sweet, they do need to be planted in a place where they are not overwhelmed by larger plants.

  3. Christy says:

    Hi Frances….how incredibly cute are these tiny daffys! You have quite a collection of them. congrats on finding
    Narcissus Willkommii. It’s a wonderful addition!

    Hi Christy, thanks. I was lucky on the find, for certain. I wish I could remember where I read about N. willkommii, but it was said to be quite rare.

  4. I predict a run on tiny daffodils! Who wouldn’t want some after reading this?

    Thanks Marian. I just saw another tiny one, N. dubius. The search for it is on!

  5. Interesting how, without a point of reference (human fingers or ruler), the daffodils don’t scream teeny tiny because they are perfectly proportioned. Are any of these adorable miniatures planted in your fairy garden area?

    Thanks for visiting, Michaele. Funny you should ask about the fairy garden and these little ones, the fairy garden is dense shade, not good for these sun lovers. The foliage must cure in the sun and the bulbs bake during the summer for best blooming. I had to move the hoopskirts to a more open spot to get better flowering. Somehow, a sunny fairy garden seems an oxymoron, maybe just to me.

  6. Cindy says:

    I do love the little daffs! I have ‘Hoop Petticoats’ growing out front. I really need to move them, though, because they’re not situated where I can see and enjoy them when they bloom!

    Hi Cindy, great that you can grow the hoop skirts! The little ones are so sweet, even if they don’t deliver the big bang when viewed from afar, but we have other daffs for that.

  7. I’m such a sucker for diminutive flowers and these all qualify. How adorable that minnow variety is. 🙂
    Wonderful pics and educational narrative, as always. 🙂

    Hi Karen, thanks. There is something about those miniatures that calls to us. Minnow is gorgeous! And readily available.

  8. gail says:

    They are the cutest and sweetest daffs I’ve ever seen. The wet spring has been too helpful for slugs, but, oh the spring flowers have loved the moisture. xoxoxgail

    Thanks Gail. The cool and wet spring has been a joy for the plants, slugs and all.

  9. Rose says:

    I love your experiments, Frances:) I ordered a few tiny daffodils from Brent and Becky’s last year, too, and I’m eager to see how they do. I do know I planted some ‘Minnow,’ but I don’t remember if I ordered ‘willkommii’ or not. I will have to look for this one next fall and order it early–I’m sure there will be a run on mini narcissus after this!

    Hi Rose, thanks for joining in the science class! HA You are going to love Minnow, it is too sweet. Now we will be on the lookout for the tiniest of the tiny.

  10. Lea says:

    Lovely little daffodils!
    So now I have a new garden project – measure my daffy blooms!
    Have a wonderful week-end!
    Lea’s Menagerie

    Hi Lea, thanks for dropping by. It was fun to measure the little daffs, my thumbnail did not have the proper markings! HA You too, have a great weekend.

  11. Lola says:

    The smallest I’ve ever seen but oh so cute.

    Hi Lola, thanks for visiting. Very small and very cute, yes.

  12. Sweet. I have a soft spot in my heart for the mini-Daffs, too. How fun to actually measure them and document the results!

    Hi Beth, thanks for joining in. The little daffs are like babies, perfectly formed in miniature. I love them!

  13. Elizabeth McLeod says:

    I agree…would never have thought to measure them! We have them in bloom at present and they look pretty amongst the lenten roses and bluebells! Happy Spring to the East.

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by. The small daffs are lovely, as are the large and medium sized ones. I love them with the Hellebores and our bluebells are not quite open yet, but soon.

  14. So cute! I never even knew there were miniature daffodils.

    Hi Jason, thanks. Miniatures are a class of daff, but these are even smaller than most of those. Micro-mini I guess.

  15. I have just discovered the miniature daffodils. I have tiny white daffodil that I forgot I planted. I think it might be Snipe – out in the lawn. I wish I planted it nearer the house.

    Snipe sounds like a cute one, think I have seen it in catalogs before. Might have to add it to the collection. These littles are easier to appreciate when planted where you can notice them. They are easily moved.

  16. dirtynailz says:

    Frances, I have loved and planted “minnow” for years and it’s a reliable performer. The others I am not familiar with but would like to try. I love the minis because they can be tucked into interesting corners… and because they’re usually pretty darned cheap!

    Good to know, thanks for sharing. I am more than happy with Minnow, and will be spreading this one around soon. It is easier than the others to find, too.

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