Lawrence Trevanion, Australia

Winter bulbocodiums

July 21, 2015

Categories: Breeding, Cytology, Daffodil Types, Fertility, Growing Daffodils, Hybridizing, Miniatures, Pollination, Science, Seedling, Weather and Temperature, Winter Blooming Daffodils

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It has been a cold frosty winter here and many flowers are later than usual.

The tazettas in the field are miserable. The paperwhites are miserable too but they seem a little more hardy.


The viridiflorus hybrids in the field are just coping.

Virid hyb

The bulbocodiums are just fine.



14_09VB 13_153B 13_78VB 13_76VB 13_24VB

Various descendants of the bulbocodium intersectional hybrid ‘Gold Step’ have been flowering since the autumn, which has been quite surprising. They were given some shade after planting, which may have had a forcing effect. No pseudonarcissus are in flower here, not even N. cyclamineus, except for one accidentally planted with the bulbocodiums – a nice miniature but without strong color contrast.


Gold Step crossed with bulbocodiums can give hybrids that are barely distinguishable from pure bulbocodiums but they can be more durable and refined.


intersectional hybrid


pure bulbocodium

An interesting new hybrid is the fully fertile Gold Step seedling 10_04MB crossed with a tetraploid division 6


10_04MB  x 10_17D



Surprisingly, this flower appears to have some fertility. What use this could possibly be remains to be seen. For lack of choice I’ve put bulbocodium pollen onto it, adding cyclamineus quality to the bulbocodiums couldn’t be a bad thing, but it may have other and better uses. Interestingly this hybrid appears to have much finer leaves than some Gold Step x 10_17D seedlings that will open soon.

Another interesting new seedling is 15_15VB. It glistens in a way that seems quite exceptional.


A casual look at the corona under the microscope shows 15_15VB to be strikingly different to a normal bulbocodium. It looks as if an undulating cell structure enables the flower to capture and transmit light at a greater number of angles.

Corona  13_120B  Corona  15_15VBCorona  15_15VBa

It’s enough to make one look forward to winter.


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One Response to Winter bulbocodiums

  1. David Adams, New Zealand
    July 22, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Thanks Lawrence,

    To think that many of us thought that the bulbos were boring, too much the same and useless for breeding with because you only got more of the same. It seems now that the possibilities of colour and form are endless.