Harold Koopowitz, California

Pink and Orange Perianths.

March 13, 2019

Category: General

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Getting color into the perianths of the miniature daffodils is as difficult as getting color into the perianths of standard flowers, but it is not impossible.  It turns out that using the smaller jonquil species is the magic key to transfering corona color into the perianth. We noted this some years ago when we flowered ‘Arrowhead’ 6Y-R x N. gaditanus and most of the seedlings had a strong orange flush in the perianth. ‘Tamar Fire’ 4Y-R x small 7Y-Y seedling has given us a spectacular mini 4O-R double that will be registered this year as ‘Kishu’. The seedling pollen parent was from Bob Spotts, probably related to his ‘Hohokam’ which had N. henriquesii as a pod parent.


Kishu (unreg.)  4O-R                                                                        Arrowhead x N. gaditanus 5O-R

So far the best cross with pink potential that has flowered, was from ‘Urchin’ 2W-P x N. willkomii. I only managed to get four seedlings up to flowering size but all four have strong pink flushes in the perianths. As some clones only carry one flower to the stem those can be classified as 2P-P. Two are shown below. Others, that carry more flowers have to be classed as 7P-P.


Several years ago, I flowered a seedling from ‘Pink Polynomial’ x N. willkommii. It was a beautiful miniature 11AP-P. Unfortunately it was short lived and that cross needs to be remade. This is the flower on the left below.

‘Brooke Ager’ often has a pink flush in the perianth and when crossed with N. gaditanus also gave flowers with pink perianths. This is the flower in the center below. The smallest flower on the right is from ‘Urchin’ x N. willkommii, a 7P-P.

Bob Spotts has also produced a few mini daffs with pink flushed perianths, presumably from similar breeding with mini jonquils.

I now have an enormous number of crosses waiting to flower that we hope will provide an enlarged pallet of pink perianths in the future.

3 Responses to Pink and Orange Perianths.

  1. Theo Sanders, Germany
    Theo Sanders, Germany
    March 15, 2019 at 1:24 am

    Harold, I think the color of the corona is influenced by the proportion of genes for red or pink and genes for white or yellow of a plant. Within a tetraploid standard daffodil you can have a maximum of four genes for red or pink. For crosses of red or pink tetraploid daffodils with white or yellow diploid species you get two genes for red or pink and one gene for yellow or white within the triploid plant. In similar crosses with N. dubius there are two genes for red or pink  and three  genes for white or yellow within the pentaploid plant. Surly the whole consideration is very simple and there are many other influences.


  2. Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio
    Mary Lou Gripshover, Ohio
    March 15, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Very nice, Harold.

  3. Harold Koopowitz, California
    Harold Koopowitz, California
    March 19, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Theo, Thanks for your comments. However, I think that the situation is much more complicated than merely the number of genes. We are dealing with genes that influence pattern i.e. where the genes are expressed as well as making the pigment, and nothing is really known about the situation in narcissus. Making carotenoids involves many genes, at least one pair for each enzyme along the pathway. There are at least 7 pairs needed for the entire carotenoid pathway.  The intensity of color is probably related to gene duplications. While tetraploidy doubles the number of genes, genes can also be duplicated on the same chromosome. The  hybrids that I described are triploids that means there should be less pigement than the tetraploid parent, but that says nothing about where in the flower the genes are expressed.