Chinese Sacred Lily (N. tazetta var chinensis) seeds…

March 12, 2015
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Categories: Autumn Blooming Daffodils, Breeding, Cytology, Daffodil Types, Fertility, Growing Daffodils, Historics, Hybridizing, Pollination, Science, Seeds, Species, Weather and Temperature, Winter Blooming Daffodils

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Chinese Sacred Lily seed

Yes, you can look at all the articles coming out of China and elsewhere, on how hopelessly sterile this variety is. But, thanks to the wonders of significantly warmer temperatures here in recent years, and my discovery that with otherwise “sterile” triploid tazettas repeat pollinating 3 days in a row is key to success, I can now generate the seeds with reasonable frequency.  (Up to 8 per pod on Chinese Sacred Lily!)  Pollens used are from other tazettas blooming at the time.

For the Chinese Sacred (“Single Chinese”) temperatures are good if 75 degrees, but 80 or above is even better. 70 is doable.

Low humidity is especially beneficial!

Occasionally, the double variety exported from Israel as “Constantinople” mutates back to a single form.  This is very similar in all other respects to the Chinese form, but has larger cups.  It also shows similar fertility, though perhaps a bit better.

Other factors important to success with marginally fertile triploid tazettas like this one are:

1) Solitary bulbs or small clumps are far more seed fertile than large clumps/beds.  And this definitely includes bulbs growing as rogues, among other tazettas, as if they “know” their kind is few and must do their utmost to reproduce.  (I have previously stated that newly planted bulbs are more seed-fertile but I believe now it is a matter of these factors.)

2) Plants that are kept well-watered before, and especially during and immediately after bloom, are much more seed fertile.

3) They don’t have to receive the same pollen when repeated for 3 days, it is just a matter of the repeating.  (And even repeating just 2 days is far, far better than no repeating at all.)

I do believe that one of the main things which has hindered tazetta hybridizing is that many hybridizers are not able to be present for 3 days of repeat pollinating.  Even working everyday at this, sometimes I must be at a farmers market, etc–it is hard enough as it is here on the coast to have 3 days of warm enough weather, although that is becoming much more frequent of late.

I am even getting a few seeds on Grand Primo these days.

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One Response to Chinese Sacred Lily (N. tazetta var chinensis) seeds…

  1. Harold Koopowitz, California
    Harold Koopowitz, California
    March 15, 2015 at 9:06 am

    It is comforting to know that global climate change has some benefits. Bill I look forward to you flowering some great new tazettas.

    We are having such warm winter and spring days that the stone fruit is failing and we are switching to guavas and papayas. I now see fruiting mangos in local gardens. Many of the standard daffodils are not happy.

    Harold