Open Pollination/culled daffodil seeds/bulbs

July 10, 2017

Categories: Bulb Information, Daffodil Enthusiasts, Daffodil Types, Diseases and Pests, General, Growing Daffodils, Hybridizing, Seedling, Seeds, Species, Virus

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If you go out into the fields or flower beds after dark you will sometimes see hundreds of not thousands of moths working over the blooms on the daffodils. During a mild spring night with warmer weather, clear night sky with some moon light you can see the various species of moths. These male moths have incredible antennae able to smell or detect a female of their species from as far away as a mile or more, just by scent. Female moths can detect the scent of the host plants that they will lay eggs on also from more than a mile. Some dog breeds like Beagles or Blood hounds have a sense of smell that is more than 25,000 times more sensitive than a human. We humans can detect the scent of a single stem of Jonquilla and or a Tazetta inside a building with 32,000 cubic feet of air!

They make commercial mosquito netting that is impregnated with the insecticide “Permethrin” for use in areas with Malaria and or they sell this at any camping/backpacking supply company.

Issue is that many species of moths have incredibly long “tongues”. The Tomato Hornworm moths or “Sphinx moths” or the Hummingbird moths have 4 to 6” long tongues or 10 to 15 CM long. The more heavily scented daffodils evolved in their part of this world with scent for the simple reason that scent is what attracts the most common pollinators for that particular species of insect. Just because you and I cannot smell the scent on every variety of daffodil does not mean that someone else cannot detect a slight scent. Then you also have the moon light to help night flying creatures “see” these blooms. Slugs and snails seem to be able to see and or smell show quality blooms, slugs seem to be able to smell the ripening seeds within your daffodil seed pods.

Who is to say that even tiny Thrip type species of insects, insects that are commonly attracted to white or yellow colors cannot land on a ripe pollen anther, then fly off and crash land onto the sticky pistil of another daffodil bloom and create a “Magical” new hybrid daffodil?

I find it hard to believe that “any” daffodil enthusiast would throw away open pollinated seeds or cull out and throw away non-virused cull seedling daffodils. There are 254 counties in the state of Texas, our county has just 33,000 people. We have right at 10,000 students in the public and private school system in our county in Pre-K, Kindergarten and then 1-12 grades. IF every daffodil grower would put just 10 culled-unwanted daffodil bulbs in their lunch kit every day, then give them away every day they would not have to “throw them away” in the trash.

Really fun when you go on a “daffodil tour” or visit one of your obsessive daffodil club members yards to plant a few “Ice Follies” type bulbs into their show beds. Better yet dump a few hands full of culled OP seedlings! Get creative stick a few dozen into every public park, stick a few in the raised plant planters in your city down town. Especially stuff like bulbocodium and species jonquilla can be put out “In the Rough” at public golf courses or along walking trails.

Curious is the story true that Tete-e-tete, Jumblie and Quince were all just Open Pollinated seedlings?

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas

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2 Responses to Open Pollination/culled daffodil seeds/bulbs

  1. Clay Higgins, North Carolina
    Clay Higgins, North Carolina
    July 11, 2017 at 5:10 am

    HI Keith,

    Good seeing your post again.  I enjoyed your post, but not sure what was on your mind when you wrote it.

    I have learned to dead-head my daffodils because of these pollinators that you are talking about.  I don’t want all the seeds or the resulting seedlings that happen if you leave them in the beds.  N. jonquilla seedling have already tried to take over my beds.  Bob Spotts and others gave me advise a few years ago to give all the “cull” seedlings from my hybridizing program to garden clubs.

    The garden clubs are totally surprised when I come in and dump an “overload” of bulbs on their exchange tables.  Even when I split them up into several different clubs.  So I do try to give them away.

    As for your reference to ‘Ice Follies’ when the ADS National tour came to my house in 2004, you may remember the large bed of about 500 Ice Follies at the entrance to greet the buses of visitors. I’m in agreement with you on that, I keep a lot of “Garden” daffodils just because I think they are bright and lighten up the day, e.g, Verdant Meadow, & Vienna Woods.  I can stand on my back deck and enjoy them every spring.



  2. Loyce McKenzie, Mississippi
    Loyce McKenzie, Mississippi
    July 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Keith, what about lightning bugs? would they be good pollinators?
    What’s the story( when your memory gets older, names are the first to go, only to reappear when it’s too late to publish) about Ellen Wilcott(S), one of the Gertrude Jekyll generation of women landscapers. She believed in some plant so much that wherever she went to visit, she slipped a few seeds of it into the flower beds; when they appeared, it generally became known as Miss Wilcott’s revenge.