Ben Blake, California

Half and Half daffodil

April 16, 2018

Categories: Daffodil Enthusiasts, Daffodil Types, General, Intermediates, Miniatures

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Julie Gauthier sent us an email via the daffodilusa contact form about a daffodil she found in her garden. She does not hybridize, but she found this daffodil was striking and sent us photos.

She confirmed both the perianth and corona are half-and-half.

What do you think about this?  Does this bloom have a virus or is it not a real bloom?


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16 Responses to Half and Half daffodil

  1. Matt Duddy, Pennsylvania
    Matt Duddy, Pennsylvania
    April 16, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    It doesn’t look like a virus.


    I can’t fathom how this is possible, as I’ve never seen it happen in ANY kind of flower.


    If someone knows, please share!

  2. Drew Mc Farland, Ohio
    Drew Mc Farland, Ohio
    April 16, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Extraordinary if it repeats.

  3. Jolene Laughlin, Louisiana
    April 16, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    Wow! That’s just amazing. If we get some good answers, can I please use this photo and the answers for the June “Ask the Experts” column?


    Sent from my iPhone

  4. David Adams, New Zealand
    April 16, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    I posted this photo on Daffnet a couple of year’s ago.

    This phenomonen is quite common in Dahlias

  5. Spud Brogden, New Zealand
    April 16, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    Hello Matt,

    This does happen in nature occasionaly, type of ‘sporting’. I have had it in gladioli – with 8 florets on one spike

    and have seen it on camellias. It will not repeat again next year which is a pity as it is very striking. I am sure it

    is not a virus.

    Spud Brogden,
    Normanby.New Zealand.

  6. Matt Duddy, Pennsylvania
    Matt Duddy, Pennsylvania
    April 16, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    That’s even more bizarre.

    I don’t understand it… chemistry is not synthesized in that fraction of the blossom.

    Proposed mechanisms?


  7. Matt Duddy, Pennsylvania
    Matt Duddy, Pennsylvania
    April 16, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Mr. Adams, I am especially interested in the formation of extra/fewer petals, and have noticed that you have much experience with this. May I email you off-site to discuss possible causes?

  8. Lawrence Trevanion, Australia
    Lawrence Trevanion, Australia
    April 16, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    I may have posted this before. It wasn’t marked or kept and I never saw it again.

  9. Keith Kridler, Texas
    April 17, 2018 at 5:15 am

    When you pick a daffodil, and then split the stem of the daffodil, then if you put each section of the split stem into a different test tube that contains food coloring the flower will show similar total color changes in the petals. If you will use red, blue and then green in the three different tubes then you can end up with a tri-colored bloom. White daffodils show true food colors better. Interesting that in the USA the red food coloring appears to plug up xylem tubes faster than the blue and green so possibly the red color particles are larger and or they clump together more in these xylem tubes.

    If you do the split stems with any of the paper whites, then you will have some of the blooms with a single color, but you will often have a couple of blooms that are split on the color.

    OK since we know that you can get these distinct color changes within the flowers with food coloring then “what if” there is something going on down inside the daffodil bulb, where the base of the stem connects to the bulb tissue, where there is a partial defect or bottle neck in the xylem tubes that prevents “color” particles from making the transition and traveling up to the petals? What if we really do not understand how color is truly produced within the bulbs and then transported from the bulb to the bud, then enhanced/concentrated as the stem elongates, bud enlarges, fills out and becomes show worthy. Why do some bi-colors reverse? Why does Ice Follies and so many other varieties radically change trumpet colors as they fully mature? Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas

    This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.

  10. Matt Duddy, Pennsylvania
    Matt Duddy, Pennsylvania
    April 17, 2018 at 6:31 am

    First, many thanks to Mr. Blake and Ms. Gauthier for starting this thread.

    Mr. Kridler — such an eloquent description of a fascinating concept!

    What if the coloration stems from the bulb, being continuously “wicked” up into the flower?

  11. Bill Welch, California
    April 17, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Could this be a sectoral chimera, where part of the plant is different genetically?

    But I have definitely seen precisely this sort of thing you have pictured, in the past on a daffodil though I can’t recall when or where.

    Something else I have seen, is in Erlicheer where half (or fewer) of the florets on the same stem revert back to the single form. Offsets coming from that portion of the bulb will remain normal Grand Primos in the future.

    Watch the plant next year!

    Best wishes,

    Bill the Bulb Baron (William R.P. Welch)


    William R.P. Welch, 1031 Cayuga Street, Apt B, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, USA (831) 236-8397

  12. Harold Koopowitz, California
    Harold Koopowitz, California
    April 17, 2018 at 9:03 am

    Sorry folks, this sort of thing is not unususal and is well understood. That has happened is that there was a mutation in one of the cells during the early development of the flower bud. When cells initiating the flower bud were dividing a mistake was made in one of the genes controlling color. Some of the cells carried the mutation and others did not. It will probably not happen again next season unless the mutation occured in the cells making a new side bulb. As some cells have the mutation and others not one cannot predict how much of the flower will be different. Irregular variegation in many plants like Pothos and Clivias are under similar controls, as are also striped roses. In those two cases the plant is a mosaic similar to a tortoise shell cat. In plants where the mutation occus earlier during developemnt the entire flower might have a different color or be doubled.. That is how the new double cults. were derived from Tete-a-Tete. You might know the term SPORT to describe this sort of thing.

  13. Sara Van Beck, Georgia
    April 17, 2018 at 9:52 am


    As the mechanism(s) are well understood in the botanical world but alas not in the realm of the average grower nor daffodilian, sounds like an article with a collection of fun photographs is in order to add to the permanent daffodil record for the general membership…

    Sara L. Van Beck

  14. David Adams, New Zealand
    April 17, 2018 at 11:47 am

    Apart from the discussion on flower colouring I now understand how a sport occurs. It always seemed impossible to me. I just thought that a stray seed had dropped near the parent bulb.

    Thanks Harold.

  15. ADS Executive Director
    ADS Executive Director
    April 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    After listening to Frans Veul in Nashville. I’m especially interested in what tissue culture does. He hinted that it wasn’t a reliable propagation technique. Yet, he didn’t completely discount the phenotype variability opportunities either.


  16. Phyllis Hess, Ohio
    Phyllis Hess, Ohio
    April 23, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Have enjoyed your discussions, thanks for sharing.