Theo Sanders, Germany

Some crosses with diploid tazettas and their fertility

June 18, 2016

Categories: Fertility, Hybridizing, Pollination, Science

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Crosses of different  diploid and tetraploid poeticus varieties with N. tazetta were made before 1906 and 1930 especially in the Netherlands from J.B. van der Schoot. To the first group belong Jaune a Merville and Geranium with seven chromosomes from poeticus (N) and ten from N. tazetta (T). For Geranium (NT) Barbara Tulloch found out that it is fertile, against expectation, with 38% unreduced pollen. I detected this information in the internet some days ago. Her article “Observation of the Pollen of Some Species and Hybrids of Narcissus” you can find by dafflibrary in The Daffodil Journal from 1980, pages 116-119. I could confirm this information in my paper “Pollen Volume and Chromosome Content of Daffodils – Possibilities for Hybridyzing 2 (January 2013)”. Jaune a Merville generates also unreduced pollen. It was crossed with the tetraploid Chaucer and gave Chinita (NNNT). Furthermore Babara Tulloch writes in her article that Cheerfulness, Primrose Beauty, Aspasia, and Saint Agnes, all NNT with two chromosome sets of N. poeticus and one of N. tazetta, are pollen fertile with 30 to 48 %. The values of the pollen size for Geranium and all these varieties are about 0.05 mm which she also measured for Matador (NNTT) with NT-pollen. That means in my opinion that all these tazetta crosses create NT-pollen.

The question is whether the results of Barbara Tulloch influenced the work of the daffodil breeders. As far as I know there are no crosses made with the mentioned fertile tazetta hybrids except Matador. Perhaps they were done and no seeds resulted?

In any case it seems reasonable to repeat the old crosses. Today there are better poeticus varieties to get NT plants and much better tetraploid poeticus and standard daffodils to get NNT daffodils. I have late flowering N. tazetta clones from near Figueres in Spain with five up to ten flowers per stem. One clone survived a severe frost period in 2011/2012. I crossed them successfully with Ufo, Loch Coire, TS 108, Symptom, Decoy, Assertion, Actaea, and Fanad Head.

Actaea x N. tazetta Ufo x N. tazetta TS 108 x N. tazetta Loch Coire x N. tazetta Fanad Head x N. tazetta

A combination of poeticus sorts and N. elegans (TT) should also be possible. Here the red colours in the crowns of the two daffodils could be combined. A hybridization with different tetraploid standard daffodils should also be tried, perhaps with higher temperatures for sprouting the pollen.

Crosses of N. elegans and other diploid tazettas with different species are  feasible too. In 2015 and 2016 I got seeds from diploid Y-O tazettas and N. elegans as the pollen parents with the seed parents N. assoanus, N. jonquilla minor, and N. calcicola. I think there is allways a high possibility that some of these tazetta crosses are fertile.


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One Response to Some crosses with diploid tazettas and their fertility

  1. Lawrence Trevanion, Australia
    Lawrence Trevanion, Australia
    June 29, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Theo,

    I made some comments about this at

    The Geranium x Matador (12_07MT) and the Xerxes x Matador (12_08MT) both appear to have set seed in 2014. A couple of Matador x Geranium, which I’m told look true to cross, appear to have some fertility also. I expect I did a stack of these kinds of crosses in the 1990’s but without much success. I have lost interest in Matador and the old poetaz and have been more interested in Taztep as a seed and pollen parent.

    I thought Taztep crosses were better in one way than the other but I’m no longer sure that is right. A Taztep x Silver Kiwi seedling (11_01TX) had good seed set last  season so I think Taztep is worth persisting with.

    I’m sure I’ve done many tazetta crosses onto main division tetraploids over the years, and a few crosses in the reverse direction, but with little success. I put a lot of effort putting greenish main division tetraploids onto elegans hybrids this year and may have had some success.

    I flowered some of Bill Welch’s tetraploid tazettas this year. They look like Taztep so I suspect they may have paperwhite ancestry (42 chromosomes rather than 40). I may get some seeds from one crossed with viridiflorus but I doubt, even if true, that the seeds will mature through winter. I have saved the pollen for spring.

    I have found cyclamineus x tazetta reliably produces vigorous hybrids, a cyclamineus x Autumn Colors is flowering here right now, so I have put some more effort into this type of cross. (Your Hillstar x cyclamineus looks really good!)