Ross Hornsby, Alabama

Some breeding/fertility questions

January 11, 2020

Categories: Autumn Blooming Daffodils, Breeding, Daffodil Types, Fertility, Historics, Hybridizing, Pollination, Science, Winter Blooming Daffodils

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I have a lot of tazettas blooming now and was looking through the pollen I collected last year to see what I might use for breeding. ‘Aspasia’ is my latest-blooming daffodil and I saved a lot if its pollen. When I took it out of the freezer it was abundant, golden, and fluffy. According to Daffseek, ‘Aspasia’ has 24 chromosomes, so I’m guessing it’s a triploid with an NNT (7 7 10) configuration. It has no recorded descendants on Daffseek, either. Does this imply that it’s not fertile? Does an abundance of pollen not necessarily indicate potency of pollen? I used some of the pollen on my Autumn Colors daffodils anyway.

4 responses to “Some breeding/fertility questions”

  1. Bradley McCarson, South Carolina Bradley McCarson, South Carolina says:

    Typically these kinds of hybrids are sterile. Pollen is usually clumpy and grainy if it is not viable. The only way to know for sure is to try and germinate pollen under a microscope.

  2. Lawrence Trevanion, Australia Lawrence Trevanion, Australia says:

    Hi Ross,

    I’m bound to have tried this in the past without success.

    I may have a few seedlings from the sterile poetaz but nothing wonderful. I think you would use them if you have some particular objective in mind.

    Theoretically you will have more success with them as pollen parents but if you use them as seed parents, although you will get almost 100% failure rates, you can be sure that any seed you get is from poetaz.

    Rather than use tazettas bred from old poets (that are not sunproof) you might consider breeding new ones by storing pollen from modern standards that do well in your climate – some pinks perhaps, or reverse bicolors.

    Bill Welch has terrific tazettas. There has never been a better time to breed tazettas.

  3. Theo Sanders, Germany Theo Sanders, Germany says:

    Lawrence, Barbara Tulloch found out that Aspasia has a pollen fertility of 48 %. I think the pollen constitution is NT. (Tulloch B. The Daffodil Journal December 1980, 116-119). I bought some bulbs of Aspasia in 2018 and found no fertile pollen in 2019. This year the result my be better.


  4. Ross Hornsby, Alabama Ross Hornsby, Alabama says:

    Thank you, everyone, for the advice and valuable information. I noticed last year that the pollen on ‘Aspasia’ was more like the pollen on some of my tetraploid cultivars, whereas most triploids had pollen like what Bradley described. I suppose I don’t have any particular reason to use ‘Aspasia’ except that I like it and wish I had an earlier-blooming version of it. I also only started collecting pollen late last year so it’s some of the only saved pollen I have to work with right now. Lawrence, thank you for the advice on what possibilities to try. I’ll keep it in mind as the season progresses.