Clay Higgins, New Jersey

Daffodil Digging and seed

May 16, 2013

Categories: American Daffodil Society, General

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I am still digging my early daffodils, mostly miniatures and I noticed that one of my “hard-to-make” crosses was ready to be harvested today. N.wateri X Elka. Has anyone ever gotten seed off N. wateri as seed parent, and what did you get from that cross?


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12 Responses to Daffodil Digging and seed

  1. Larry Force, Mississippi
    Larry Force, Mississippi
    May 16, 2013 at 11:57 am


    I have gotten seed from wateri as a pod parent in 2009, 10 and 11 mostly using pollen from some of the Shaw Nature Reserve red cup poets. Be aware and you probably are, that as the stigma is deep within the flower, you are likely to get a selfing of wateri unless you get there very early, tear the flower apart and either remove the anthers or at least spread the flower apart where the anthers don’t touch the stigma(if you want to save the pollen). The same holds true for other forms of rupicola, jonquilla and a number of other species.

    Delia Bankhead once wrote that it was useless to use wateri as a pod parent as you would always get wateri. She was probably right, unless the above is done. The above procedure has worked for me using the yellow rupicola. I have not bloomed any of my wateri seedlings yet so can not tell you what I got. Of course, I hope to get an orange or red cupped miniature, The best laid plans of mice and men off go astray. Time will tell. Hope to see some results from the 09 crosses next spring. Good luck on your wateri x Elka cross.




  2. Stephen Vinisky, Oregon
    Stephen Vinisky, Oregon
    May 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    What a nice cross with very good potential!

    I too have wondered why there are so few things using both N. rupicola and N. watieri as seed parents. I have had great difficulty using both as seed parents. The tube is quite constricted and narrow with the stigma deep in the tube. The anthers are always held above the stigma. The flower must be split open to gain access to the stigma. If this is done after the anthers have released any pollen, I usually get “selfed” seed and not the cross that I hoped I made.

    I suspect or imagine that there may be a physical barrier to pollen use of both. My sense of the matter is that the pollen might not have the ability to grow down the length of long or even regular size stigma. That is just a guess. I have tried shortening the stigma using a new razor blade and immediately applying pollen to the end of the cut stigma. That method has only yielded a very few seed.

    There does seem to be a greater pollen affinity with some Divisions or Sections than others. The late Delia Bankhead and I worked on a joint N. watieri species and hybridizing effort back in the early 1990’s when it was a very difficult species to obtain. I do believe that Chriss R. may have some of the few Miniatures that resulted from this collaborative effort.

    Good luck with your cross. A number of us will follow your future reports with great interest! Thanks for letting us know.


  3. Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    May 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Larry and Steve,

    Thanks for your comments.  I have the same problems with all the jonquil tribes. You have to tear the flower apart to get to the stigma’s and they all self seed so very well.

    However, my major problem with N. watieri and ripicola is getting them to live for then the first year.  I have not learned the growing conditions they like best.

    However, this watieri clump is three years old.  not sure what I was doing right, but since I dug them, they will most likely die on me.


  4. David Adams, New Zealand
    May 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Stuart Murray has this theory about thrim and thrup in the apodanthe. I think this proves his point, also making it hard for the flowers to accept foreign pollen.


  5. Kathleen Simpson, West Virginia
    May 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    translation, please?  Google isn’t coming up with anything relevant for either thrim or thrup.

  6. David Adams, New Zealand
    May 16, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Kathleen,

    It is to do with the position of the style. Look up heterostyly.


  7. Stephen Vinisky, Oregon
    Stephen Vinisky, Oregon
    May 16, 2013 at 6:47 pm


    In the Primrose family when the stigma is held above the anthers it is called “pin eyed” and is a no-no as far as exhibition. If the stigma is below the anthers and the anthers are visible it is called a “thrum” and is the preferred form. Both types (pin and thrum) are present when seed sown. Sort of interesting, Pin to pin and thrum to thrum crosses in Primrose yield less seed than pin to thrum or thrum to pin. That is a classic example of heterostyly.


  8. Lawrence Trevanion, Australia
    Lawrence Trevanion, Australia
    May 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Hi Clay,
    I have really nice rupicola x watieri seedlings and interesting watieri x (calcicola x watieri). I have better things from this latter cross in the reverse direction.

    I had given up on inter-sectional hybrids with narcissus/pseudonarcissus but will try again this year with the tetraploids (as pollen parents this time). This is based on the idea that some sterile triploids can have some useful fertility that can lead to fully fertile hybrids (as in Silver Bells -> Mission Bells etc). I may actually have had a hybrid of this type, Pink China x (calcicola x watieri), but I think I have foolishly lost it or thrown it away.

  9. Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    May 18, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Nice hearing from you Larry.  I’ve not had much luck with N. calcicola as it is harder than N. watieri to grow in my growing conditions.

    By accident I was reading a back issue of the ADS Daffodil Journal, March 2009, and found an interesting article by Delia Bankhead on miniatures and with considerable mention on N. watieri on page 174 with some interesting pictures on 176.  I think I saw a couple of the pink miniatures in Lynchburg a couple years ago as shown by Chriss R.  I would love to get my hands on some of these.

    That is followed by another interesting article by Harold Koopowitz on page 177.


  10. Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    May 18, 2013 at 4:13 am

    Not to insult anyone, it looks like the March 2009 issue of the ADS Daffodil Journal was dedicated to the miniature with Larry Force, Leone Low and several other excellent breeders and hybridizers talking about miniatures.  Definitely a must read.

    I had forgotten about it, and found it at an appropriate time.


  11. Larry Force, Mississippi
    Larry Force, Mississippi
    May 18, 2013 at 6:13 am


    You mentioned that you have trouble keeping watieri and rupicola alive long term. That you have not learned what the best growing conditions for these are.  I have a problem keeping these alive also. Calcicola is not an especially happy camper either. Perhaps these are some of the species that tend to live long enough to produce seed and then just fade away, such as triandrus..  We may have somewhat the same climate, hot,humid, sometimes wet summers. I think you have mentioned that you have a sandy soil though. I  have a clay loam soil.  I am in USDA zone 7 very close to 7b.

    If there is anyone out there that is successful with these, please share your expertise with us. Those that have seen them in the wild, what are their growing conditions?


  12. Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    May 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm


    I’m with you.  Zone 7, and bordering on 8.  In the summer it really is HOT and Long with little or no accumulation of moisture.

    The soil is sand and will not hold moisture on it’s own without the addition of organic matter and a lot of mulch or shade of some typel.