John McLennan, New Zealand

Erlicheer and White Pearl

July 17, 2017

Categories: Autumn Blooming Daffodils, Breeding, Daffodil Types, Fertility, General, Hybridizing

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The  daffodil  season  is  moving  slowly  in  New  Zealand  and  most  areas  had  a rough  weekend  as  a severe  southerly front  moved  up  the  country . My  cutflower  numbers  for  market  dropped  by  half  as  they  kept  their  heads  down .Our  Kapiti  area is  one  of  the  earliest  and  we  are  about  mid  season  for  Erlicheer , –  a  very  popular  and  well  known  market  flower .

Erlicheer  is  a  N Z  raised  flower  ,  registered  as  a  sport  of  WHITE  PEARL  ,  8 W – W .  I  have  been  growing  Erlicheer  commercially  for  over  30  years  ,  – not  in  big  volumes  but  marketing  several  thousand  bunches  every  season  .Almost  every  season  , a few heads  of  WHITE  PEARL    appear in  the  patch  and  many  other  growers  report  the  same  flowering . The  late  Tony  Robinson  had  marked  ,  isolated  and  replanted  a good  line  of  W P  that  after  a  few  years  had  stabilised  and  only  flowered  as  WP .  This  was  a  good  achievement  , as  for  me  ,  they  almost  always  revert  back  to  Erlicheer .





I  have  probably only  seen  both  Erlicheer  and  White  Pearl  on  the  same  stem / flowerhead  , a  dozen  times  in  the  many  years  I  have  been  growing  it  –   many  hundreds of  thousands  of  stems . I  mostly  pick  with  only one  flower  open  , –  thus  only  see  a small  percentage  of  the  total  blooms . However  ,  I  spotted  a  mixed  head  in  last  weeks  picking  , –  primarily because  the  first  flower  open  was  a White  Pearl .  I  brought  it  inside  to  further  open –  from  the  ten  flowers  there  are  three  White  Pearl  .Quite  a  unique stem  and  well  worth  recording .





DAFFSEEK  tells  us  that  the  pollen  of  ERLICHEER is  pollen  fertile  ,  the  tazetta   maestro  Bill  the  bulb  Baron ,  Bill  Welch  ,  has  bred  and  registered  RACHEL’S  MAGIC  SPELL , —  4W  – Y  from  Matador  -x – Erlicheer  .  I  have  spotted  a  little  pollen   of  the  mixed  flower and  will  hopefully  find  a  double  with  a  pistil  and  try  a  cross .  Is  the  flower  a  White  Pearl  , listed  as  22  chromosomes   and probably  not  fertile  or very  reduced  fertility    or  is  it  an  Erlicheer  flower  (  as  are  most  of  it’s  mates )  and  of  a  different  fertility  level  .  Worth  a  try  ,  if the  weather  improves .


4 responses to “Erlicheer and White Pearl”

  1. Becky Fox Matthews, Tennessee Becky Fox Matthews, Tennessee says:

    Thank you for this interesting post, John!  I had never looked at the background of ‘Erlicheer’ and did not realize it was a NZ introduction nor did I notice it was listed as a possible sport of ‘White Pearl’.  I do recall seeing huge beds planted with ‘Erlicheer’ at the Dunedin, NZ sponsor’s garden, Les Cleveland, in 2012.  I found this additional information on Daffseek:

    Origin of Name:

    According to daffodil historian John Hunter, of the National Daffodil Society of New Zealand, Alan Gibson of Marton, New Zealand, a major daffodil nurseryman in the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s first noticed this flower in 1934 in the garden of Mr. Gardiner of Huntly, New Zealand. Alan Gibson obtained the bulb stock and was going to register it as ‘Cheerfulness’, this name was taken so was not accepted for the Register. Then Alan put forward the name of ‘Gaiety’, this name had also been used and again was rejected. World War II intervened and nothing was done until after it ended. When Ron Hyde returned from active service in Italy, he became Alan Gibson’s foreman at the daffodil nursery and Ron registered the flower as ‘Erlicheer’ (Gardiner) Hyde, 1951.

    And this article on Les Cleveland:

  2. Denise and Neil McQuarrie, New Zealand says:

    Interesting photos, thank you John. The flower at middle top looks to be half Erlicheer and half White Pearl! Erlicheer blooms early in warmer areas, but here it is definitely a mid-season bloomer, about 20th September. I didn’t know its pollen was fertile.

  3. Nancy Tackett, California Nancy Tackett, California says:

    John, your photos are beautiful and clearly display both ‘Erlicheer’ and ‘White Pearl’ on one stem. Thank you!

    ‘Erlicheer’ is a daffodil that Ben cannot get too close to because of its wonderful fragrance, well… some of us think it is wonderful!


  4. Lawrence Trevanion, Australia Lawrence Trevanion, Australia says:

    Obviously the White Pearl with 22 chromosomes is not the same plant that sported to produce Erlicheer. I have always assumed Erlicheer was 2 parts paperwhite and one part colored tazetta and that like others of this type, typically breeds as if it is just a pure paperwhite. My guess is that the doubling genetics is in the colored tazetta chromomes and so the chances of getting a double from it are not good. I have kept one seedling from it crossed with an Autumn Colors. Not surprisingly this seedling is sterile.