REPLY: Growing bulbs from seed - ATOW
Wed, 24 Sep 2003 08:36:16 PDT
In a message dated 23-Sep-03 10:36:03 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
janemcgary@EARTHLINK.NET writes:

Jane, Jim ~

> I have not noticed named cultivars self-sowing, but since they're used in 
> breeding, at least some of them have to be fertile.

The modern daffodil is a tetraploid.  The first three divisions are quite 
fertile with each other and are the source of much of the breeding taking place 
today.  Open pollinated seed occurs commonly in these hybrids.  Oddly, as many 
have observed, there never seem to be seedlings arising from the seed 
scattered from those capsules.  I suspect the reason for this is consumption of the 
seed by birds, as the seed (when fresh) is big, black and shiny and rests on the 
surface of the soil -- easy pickings for sharp eyed seed eaters.  In my 
current lease here in OR, there are small groups of wild turkeys that move through 
and I suspect that it is the rare seed that escapes these creatures!

Daffodil hybrids involving one of the species and a 4n parent, however, tend 
to be triploid and, thus, infertile, or only marginally so.  Many of the 
commoner species (and species diploid hybrids) will also set quantities of OP seed 
(but not the scarcer and far more desirable ones!!).  The interesting thing 
about many of these is that the very small capsules are chock-a-block full of 
seed -- I've counted over a hundred seed from one small bulbocodium capsule!  
There are so many seed that they tend to be angular so they can all fit in, 
rather than the spherical form otherwise normal.

> Narcissus triandrus 'Albus' and N. pseudonarcissus "obvallaris" self-sow 
> here regularly in the garden, and I collect a great deal of viable seed from 
> the species Narcissus I grow in the bulb frames.
I've found N. triandrus triandrus (albus) to readily set seed when manually 
pollinated.  With respect to OP seed, however, Jane has far better luck in her 
controlled environment than I do with these things grown outdoors where they 
have to take what 'ol Ma Nature throws their way.  Honestly, I've never really 
noticed obvallaris, although every year I see great quantities of OP seed 
capsules on N. minor and the various hybrids involving this one, e.g., 'Little 
Gem.'  They have to be unfailingly removed to keep the stocks free of unwanted 
seedlings.  I used to collect and sow this seed but never got anything to 
justify the time involved.  Some of the jonquil and bulbocodium hybrids might even 
be termed "weeds" here in Oregon (I suspect the daffodil community will strike 
me dead for such blasphemy) as they will always OP with promiscuous abandon.  
Same result for the seed, however. 

Dave Karnstedt
Cascade Daffodils
Silverton, Oregon, USA
Maritime, Mediterranean climate, USDA Z7-8

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