Keith Kridler, Texas

Scented daffodils for forcing

August 17, 2008

Categories: Breeding, Daffodil Types, Hybridizer, Hybridizing, Species

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About one out of four people sniffing Tazettas here in Texas say that this division or group of daffodils STINK! Now I personally love the scent of thousands of them filling the cool night air with their scent. There is NOTHING quite like wandering around in the fields on a moon lit night when you stumble into a solid wall of perfume from a huge drift of paper whites or jonquils. Each variety can vary in intensity of odor!
I also like the scent from a couple dozen blooms placed in a vase as they fill up our whole house with their sticky sweet aroma. BUT it can be over powering to combine the smell of dozens of different Division 7 & 8’s that we pick and haul hundreds of miles to distant daffodil shows when you are trapped in a car! My wife Sandy is allergic to perfumes and bath oils that contain ANY real rose scent. Ditto for the paper white scent. One single stem of division 8 per 1,000 square feet of floor area inside a house is about all she can tolerate!
Now Herut Yahel from Israel was interested in breeding paper whites with less scent or at least a more pleasant scent that could be tolerated by more people when planted indoors. I see Ziva, Galilee, Ariel listed by K. Van Bourgondien and Sons and also another one bred in Israel called Inbal which is listed as an improved “Ziva”. If you do a search on Daffseek either by the hybridizer above or by just the country you will pull up all of the paperwhites that were bred/selected in Israel for reduced scent as they were/are marketed under different names in different countries.
Anyway even with Israel daffodils if you or your family members cannot tolerate the scent from these Division 8 daffodils you might be surprised that more people like the scent from the jonquils or Division 7’s when used indoors.
OK the reason for scent in daffodils would be to attract MORE pollinating insects than simply by sight alone. Breeders want to produce show flowering daffodils that point their petals and cups upwards so that as we walk by the blooms in the fields we can enjoy the flowers without bending over or as judges the flowers will face upwards when they are placed on a show table.
Now the pollen and pistil are exposed to wind, rain and sun IF the cup is pointing upwards which would decrease the varieties chances of producing viable seed if it is left to open pollination or returned to the “wild”.
Many of the species daffodils and the very early crosses between these will have “weak necks” that allow the blooms to look downward. Then you have the jonquils and the poets that protect half of their pollen packets from the weather by hiding three of them deep within the throats of the blooms.
When I look at the different species from different parts of the world I wonder what types of pollinating insects they evolved with! Why do some have such over powering scent while others evolved with no scent that I can detect with my nose at all! Why do the bulbocodium have such a huge trumpet with exposed pollen! Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas where we are enjoying a most unusual cool and wet August!

One response to “Scented daffodils for forcing”

  1. Marilyn Howe says:

    Hi Keith and Daffnet
    In a message dated 8/17/2008 5:57:06 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  title= writes:

    When I look at the different species from different parts of the world I
    wonder what types of pollinating insects they evolved with! Why do some have
    such over powering scent while others evolved with no scent that I can
    detect with my nose at all!

    The most fragrant  of the Narcissus are the members belonging to the following sections Tazettae, Jonquilae, Serotini, Braxion, Aurelia, and Narcissus. The scent is the strongest in late afternoon. The pollinators that are attracted by the scent are The Hawkmoth, Macroglossum stellarum Linnaeus with its very long proboscis, two yellow butterflies belonging to the family of Pieridae, Colias crocea Geof., and Euchloea ausonia Hubner, a copper colored butterfly Lycaena dispar Haworth, and a bee which also possesses an extra long probocis Psithyrus vestalis Geof.. 
    Why do the bulbocodiums have such a huge trumpet with exposed pollen! 
    Not all bulbocodiums have exerted anthers. The ones that do are primarily in the Southern part of the Iberian Peninsula where the weather is much dryer. The bulbocdiums want to out cross and also want to make it easy for moths, butterflies and bees to pick up pollen on their bodies and fly to the next flower and deposit the pollen on the stigma. The other group which is mainly from the Northern Part of the Iberian Peninsula the anthers are mostly included in the corona which keeps the pollen protected. When the insects are out on a good day they will pick up the pollen and fly to another flower and deposit the pollen on the stigma.
    Regards to all,
    Marilynn Howe 

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