Poets question for you northerners

September 9, 2009

Categories: Daffodil Types, Fertility, Hybridizing, Standards

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Howdy –
Fer you Northerners… Do poets (recurvus, Ornatus, any other species) set seed and spread for you, or that you know of? Do they naturalize?

8 responses to “Poets question for you northerners”

  1. Daniel Bellinger says:

    I can’t think of any poet that won’t set seed. Haven’t grown Ornatus.
    Daniel Bellinger Wadsworth OH

  2. Michael Berrigan says:

    Poets are notorious selfers here.  recurvus, ornatus, helenicus and poetarum all self.  I have 4 bulbs of helenicus after 7 years from the original 3.  Poetarum has 2 bulbs from the 1 purchased 5 years ago.   None of the seed has been allowed to drop and sprout in place.   Under standard growing conditions, they are quite slow in multiplying.  A few hybrids multiply at a rate comparable to those in divisions 1-4.  Only one has been moved by rodents and the clumps were spread.  The clump remains together until moved or separated by me.  I have noted some clumps that have remained intact for 20+ years.  Dozens of flowers produced in a tight clump about 1 foot across.  


    Michael R Berrigan
    Senior Development Specialist
    Central Research Process Laboratory
    3M Company
    218-2B-03 3M Center
    Maplewood, MN 55144-1000
    651 736-9865

  3. Kathy Welsh says:
    My recurvus has never multiplied, much less naturalize, although it is in quite a bit of shade.  Most poets are slow to multiply for me, except Poet’s Way, which multiplies nicely.
    Kathy, from Northern VA


  4. Leone Low says:
    My library has a copy of ‘Slovenia’.  It has photos of poets growing in their native habitat.  A person can judge whether they spread by seeds.  They were widespread.
    Years ago I moved into a property with a substantial area of poets that had grown there for decades.  There was no way that I could tell whether they had been individually planted or had also spread from seed.
    Leone Low


  5. Jason Delaney, Missouri Jason Delaney says:

    Poets have naturalized with wild abandon at our Shaw Nature Reserve (SNR) in Gray Summit, MO where literally thousands of seedlings have taken root over the years to provide a plethora of morphological distinctions. Attached are two images taken by Keith Kridler (2005), demonstrating an area where species and named clones wantonly coexist, and their resulting offspring.
    This past spring, Gary Knehans and I collected specimens from an area containing several 9W-O/R varieties with a few ornatus-looking types growing amongst them. The resulting amalgam of this colony yielded natural hybrids with distinctly orange-tinted petals upon first opening (these quickly matured to off-white, a pale almond if you will—definitely not poet white). Many boasted superb form and habit, but lacked any degree of sun resistance. Still, they are lined out for further evaluation. Larry Force has also collected at SNR and can attest to the variation within these naturalized colonies.
    As they grow for me, both in the PHS field and the displays at MOBOT, they rarely self. I have only occasionally seen a self-pollinated pod, and as I recall it was on ‘Vers Libre’. Yet, I have seen a great number of self-pollinated pods on varieties at Oakwood, notably this spring on John’s new ‘Poet Lauriate’, which was loaded (btw, ‘PL’ is an AMAZING flower and grower!).
    Over all, poets thrive for me as garden plants and as field line-outs. The one noteworthy exception for me has been ‘Unknown Poet’, which I have decided to stop trying after three failed attempts—such a pretty flower and one that thrives for so many in this region. Some of the Scamp and Mitsch varieties are outright aggressive asexual propagators here; the rest of the lot seems to grow with the same ease and increase as any good daffodil.
    Gearing up for fall planting,


  6. Kathy Welsh says:
    John Kibler lived on or near an old estate in Warrenton, Virginia that had many wild poets.  This is where Little Kibler came from.  He made a number of selections.  They all start with “Weston”, which I assume was the name of the estate. I don’t think Mitch Carney is on daffnet, but he has seen wild poets growing on the grounds of a number of old estates in the Washington area as well.  I have not seen them.


  7. Sara Van Beck says:

    Way cool! Sounds like it gets back to that argument of “What IS a poet?” If two white flowers make an ernge (deep woods Southern for “Orange”), what’s a flower to do?

  8. Larry Force says:
    Hello Sara and all,
    I read with interest the question if poets will naturalize and spread. They certainly will if conditions are right. I have been to Shaws Nature Reserve numberous times and they have naturalized very well as Jason said and showed with the photo in his e-mail. There are all shapes, forms, sizes,and  color codes of poets and poet hybrids there. What are the right conditions? Have never been to France and Spain and seen them in their native habit, but from what I read they thrive in rich meadow lands in full sun on hillsides and valleys. Bulbs are probably shaded in the later summer months by native grasses or other vegetation. Such are the conditions at Shaw’s Nature Reserve. In one area where a controlled burn has taken place, hundreds probably thousands of seedlings are sprouting as conditions have improved for them.
    A few areas are slated to become native grass and plant areas in the future and Jason has gotten permission for rescuing daffodils in these certain areas. St Louis daffodil members have rescued daffodils there also.  I have been searching mainly for miniature poets and have 2 or 3 that will probably qualify as miniatures. Still searching for that true miniature 9w-r poet. I know it’s out there somewhere, just haven’t found it yet. Have one 9w-red to orange that is close to miniature. Am doing hybridizing with the above clones and other clones such as Haiku, Little Kiber, a couple of Link small poets and hellenicus. Also have rescued a number of standard poets. Am doing some hybridizing with other standard poet cultivars.
    Shaw’s Nature Reserve is in USDA zone 6. As I am 300 miles south of there in zone 7, I grow my poets in areas that have more shade in summer. Poets so far are doing very well for me. They open pollenate here very often but like Mike, I don’t let the seed drop on the ground and germinate. Most multilply slowly, but over time form nice clumps. Mike has trouble getting Hellenicus to increase, my plant of hellenicus has increased from one bulb in 2002 to a nice clump of 6 to 8 bulbs.  Where Jason has had a problem getting Unknown Poet established Unknown Poet has done very well here. So you just don’t know how a certain cultivar or species will perform for you until you try it. Good luck with the poets everyone.