Nancy Tackett, California

Australian needs identification help

June 7, 2010

Categories: Bulb Information, Growing Daffodils

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Dear Daffnetters,
Heather O’Flynn would like help in identifying her daffodils. Heather lives in Australia and provided the attached photos and purchase information along with the time of year each daffodil blooms.
If you can help Heather, please send her an email at:
Many Thanks,
Nancy Tackett Martinez, Calif

I have attached two images of the flowers in question.  The image titled “Unsure of Name” was purchased in a mixed bag of bulbs from the garden department of a hardware store 15 months ago and it flowered in August/September 2009. The stem is long. The petals are white and the cup is more of an orange rather that a yellow and the trumpet itself is more flat than long. A very pretty bloom.  The image titled “No Idea” was in the same bag as the one above and it flowered in September. At first I thought this flower was a jonquil because the cup was so small but it really looks like a mini daffodil. It has narrow white petals and an orange and yellow variegated cup on a long stem.  Although this is beside the point, the bag of mixed bulbs I bought were labelled jonquils and considering “Unsure of Name” is clearly not a jonquil it is surprising that I didn’t end up with a crop of onions.   Heather

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7 Responses to Australian needs identification help

  1. June 7, 2010 at 8:21 am

    The “no idea” looks like Dick Wellband BUT these blooms are normally 3″ or more in diameter or 7.62 CM or larger in diameter. It has a relatively small cup and is a Div. #3 I believe. Registered in the late 1920’s. Check it out on daffseek. IF it is a smaller bloom than that then I have “no idea”:-)) Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas

  2. Melissa Reading, California
    June 7, 2010 at 8:38 am

    My understanding is that such packages of mixed bulbs are often discarded mixed seedlings, so even if they resemble some known cultivar, there is no assurance that they are in fact that named variety. This makes naming of unknown blooms a risky business. This is one of the reasons I support the practice of allowing “unknown” entries in shows. Across the US, experienced daffodillians make up names for these blooms, usually brought to shows by less experienced exhibitors. I’ve never understood why it makes sense to display a bloom as an impostor for a truly named variety, but it is unacceptable to employ humble honesty, and label it “unknown.” Melissa

  3. Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio
    Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio
    June 7, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Some shows do have a class for “unknown” or “un-named” daffodils. They just aren’t eligible for ADS awards. One show calls the class “Don’t know the name but we love them just the same.” If anyone thinks they know the name, they write it on after judging, or tell the exhibitor.
    Mary Lou

  4. Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland
    Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland
    June 7, 2010 at 10:33 am

    “The Lady is not for turning” !! A Famous quote!

  5. John Beck, Illinois
    June 7, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Hello Melissa, I know that daffodil breeders send out packs of discarded seedlings, and I shall be quick with the name of “unnamed seedling” in the future. However, when you get mixed bulbs at the garden center they ought to be from a commercial enterprise- my experience is that these are mostly “Ice Follies” and I do not know whom is distributing them, but if something nice turns up, I wonder if it is not more likely that an established trade cultivar is what was provided.
    John Beck

  6. June 7, 2010 at 10:45 am
    Hello Heather,
    Melissa is correct in that a mixed bag of bulbs is often unselected seedlings however I think your problem is more easily solved. It is common in New Zealand for garden centres and mass producers of bulbs to describe tazettas as jonquils. It gets more sales.  I now suspect the sellers may do the same in Australia. Tazettas flower late winter through to early September whereas jonquils will generally flower in late September for you.
    The photos you sent show a flower form reminiscent of many of the Australian tazettas raised many years ago. I would check the foliage and bulbs. Tazetta foliage is usually dark green and remains in growth for almost twelve months of the year and the bulb is very round and dark brown. In saying that some of the Australian tazettas have normal looking bulbs and foliage so I may have been more confusing here.
    I think your jonquils are tazettas and could only be named by Australian growers who are familiar with the older cultivars.
    David Adams
  7. Melissa Reading, California
    June 7, 2010 at 11:48 am

    This does not solve the problem, as it provides only partial admission of the legitimacy of the bloom. There remains a powerful incentive for helpful, well-meaning & respected exhibitors to provide a name for the bloom so that it can be afforded full status. Then we are back in the soup of conjecture and probable inaccuracy. Only when “unknown” is recognized with full status to win any award will the incentive for made-up names cease to result in inaccurate naming. Melissa