June 3, 2008

Categories: Daffodil Types, Historics

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Keith, Dave, MaryLou and all,

It ruffles ones feathers when our New Zealand daffodils are attributed to Australia.  After all, the Aussies claim our race horses, our daffodils, our pop groups and our Rugby Coaches!!!!

Now, as to the origins or ERLICHEER (note the correct spelling) for everyone seems to get it wrong at times, including the RHS and other writers.

Going back to the 1969 Register it is recorded correctly as: 4 Erlicheer, (Gardiner)  Hyde, 1951.  This is when the flower was registered.

Then we go to the Daffodil Checklist of 1989, where the flower is entered with the wrong spelling under: Earlicheer 4W-Y (M.Gardiner) pre 1934.  Syn. Cheerfulness, Gaiety.  Mis-spelt Earlichere, Erlicheer

The Daffodil Register and Classified List 1998  has it almost correct (as it goes back to the original spelling of 1969 in the main listing) but it leaves out the one who finally registered the variety – Ron Hyde.  The listing reads: Erlicheer, 4W-Y

(M. Gardiner, pre 1934)  Syn. Cheerfulness, Gaiety, Earlichere and Earlicheer.

Regarding Erlicheer’s history.  It goes back to a daffodil in flower in 1934 that Alan Gibson of Marton (New Zealand) noticed in a planting of a Mr Gardiner of Huntly.  Huntly is just north of Hamilton in New Zealand.  Alan Gibson at the time was one of the leading commercial growers of daffodils spanning between the mid 1920’s to 1959.  His daffodils were then taken over and grown on by Ron Hyde until the early 1960’s. The spelling in their catalogues was Erlicheer and there is no doubt that this is the original correct spelling for the variety.  There is a general consensus in New Zealand where this variety is grown in large quantities that Erlicheer is a sport of the tazetta White Pearl (simply a double form).  If one grows Erlicheer in great quantities quite often a single form will reveal itself  and occasionally it has been known that half of the flower head can be both single and double.

Now to explain how some of the confusion has arisen to the naming and date of this variety. 1934 was the first time the variety was recognised, originally thought to be a seedling but now it is almost certain it was just a sport of White Pearl.  Alan Gibson obtained the stock and was going to register it as Cheerfulness, this name had already been taken and was not accepted for the Register. Alan then put forward the name of Gaiety, this name had also been used and again was rejected.  The second World War  intervened and nothing was done until after that had ended.  When Ron Hyde returned from active service in Italy he became Alan Gibson’s foreman at the daffodil nursery and it was Ron who registered the flower as Erlicheer in 1951.  I know nothing more of the Mr. Gardiner (or his initials) other than he first flowered this variety in Huntly, New Zealand.  It could well be that be the initial ‘M’  is a mistake in the Register and that it has been confused with a Murray Gardiner who commenced raising daffodils in Victoria, Australia in 1940.

There is a brief history titled “The Origin of Narcissus Earlicheer” (note the wrong spelling) by Jean Stevens page 190/1 in the 1968 RHS Daffodil and Tulip Year Book.

We have Erlicheer in flower here at present in a brick flower box  by the house (flower stems 26inches).  When we were first married (almost 50 years ago) we had Erlicheer flower twice in the one year, April and December.  It is the only time we have ever observed this. It is well known that tazettas like hot conditions and the December flowering was close to the longest day of the year, this was growing in a corner beside a corrugated iron fence 4′ 6″ high. My grandfather, 20 years previously had a composting pile of horse manure stored there for his vegetable garden.  This ancient compost encouraged Erlicheer in its December flowering to grow taller in both leaf and flower stems than the 4′ 6″ corrugated iron fence.  If Erlicheer is growing and flowering here in open ground near mid winter the stems can be as short as 7 or 8 inches because of the cold and frosts.

National Daffodil Society of New Zealand

John A. Hunter
195 Patons Road
R.D.1 Richmond
New Zealand
Phone 64 3 544 0011


6 responses to “Erlicheer”

  1. Bill Lee says:

    Thank you, John Hunter, for the erudite history of Erlicheer.

    It is a very quirky daffodil for me. I have a very small clump that I have been growing for over 30 years. It never seems to increase. Some years I get no blooms. Some years I get a stem or two in November (that is NOT spring in Ohio!). This year I had two stems blooming in late April. It is almost never taller than 6 inches.

    I am pretty sure that I got the original stock from Daffodil Mart.

    Bill Lee

  2. Bob Spotts says:


    Erlicheer certainly seems to adapted to your climate.  What other tazetta could last 30 years in Cincinnati?


  3. Clay Higgins says:

    I got Erlicheer from, I think, Daffodil Mart if that is one of the predicessors to the current Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester, VA.  My memory isn’t as long lasting as Ericheer.  I thought the name was in some Germanic language or something and it took me a long time to sort out that it’s call name is Early Cheer.  Then again, I never said I was a rocket scientist.
    Anyway I planted them within a 100 yards off the ocean at the Beach in Southern Shores, NC.  in an exposed area, and figured I’d enjoy them a couple of years until they declined, as everything else does at the beach. 
    Surprise! Surprise!  MMMM. . . Many years later, they are still there, in the sand, suffering hot unblievable dry summers, and mild winters to bloom every spring (during normal daffodil season-Late March), along side their sisters Avalanche, Castanets, Falconett and a couple other unknown Division 8 daffodils.
    Doesn’t look like they have increased or if they did, it was not much of an increase. And, I haven’t done anything to them other them plant them in sand and added a little peat at the first planting.

    Clay Higgins


  4. Bill Lee says:

    In a message dated 6/3/2008 11:31:26 AM Eastern Standard Time,  title= writes:

    Erlicheer certainly seems to adapted to your climate.  What other tazetta could last 30 years in Cincinnati?

    Well, partially adapted anyway. If it were truly adapted, it would bloom every year and it would increase. I’ve just been thinking that in both gardens inwhich it has lived, it has been planted on a slope, currently a north-facing one (not sure about the last site). I wonder if that has anything to do with it?
    Bill Lee

  5. David Adams says:
    Hey Bill,
    Erlicheer is tazettta dressed up as a double. Cook it in the summer.
  6. Donna Dietsch says:
    Oh sure, Graham, but the heavenly scent would mesmerize me and I would pick much faster.  How could you ever be cured of the love of that scent?
    Donna Dietsch
    Columbus Ohio

    kaimai view flowers ltd < title=> wrote:

    One week of picking this will cure your love of erlicheer.
    One year down hot water treated 2 acre block.
    Multiples very fast in the Bay of Plenty,flowers profusely on tall stems.
    We have just started picking it this week .