REPLY: New tazetta narcissus breeding?
Sat, 25 Jan 2003 07:51:52 PST
In a message dated 24-Jan-03 8:52:16 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

Cathy ~

> Is anyone out there successfully breeding the tazettas with other narcissus 
> to produce larger flowers and who are also selling the bulbs? I have 
> several tazettas but I must say, unless they are planted right up front, 
> they are lost in a flower bed due to the small size of the flowers.

In the entire world, there are few breeders -- not more than one could count 
on the fingers of one hand.  One of the best is Bill Welch of California 
(whom, I expect, will also reply to this message, but from a much greater 
knowledge base).

Pure tazettas tend to have small flowers but a considerable number of them on 
each stem.  Many of the hybrids (the few older ones that still exist and are 
grown) tend to have larger flowers but fewer of them, in general.  
'Avalanche' is a hybrid (whose origins are obscure) that has a great bush of 
leaves but also stout stems of twenty-thirty, inch wide flowers.  Large 
flowered white and red hybrids would be 'Martha Washington' and 'Geranium' 
both of which will provide considerable garden effect when grown in ten to 
twenty bulb swaths.  Both of these are hybrids between tazetta and poeticus 
and are known as "poetaz." 

Interestingly, 200 years ago, there were more tazetta hybrids (100s) being 
grown than any other type.  Nowadays, this has dwindled to less than 35.

'Chinita' and 'Matador' are just two hybrids with flowers of yellow and red.  
A medium yellow with large flowers would be 'Highfield Beauty.'  This can 
have up to four blooms 2.5-3" wide although the orange color in the crown is 
usually limited to just a rim.  

Interestingly, 'Matador' is one hybrid that has a degree of fertility as a 
pod parent.  A number of decent hybrids have been raised from this clone that 
are a considerable improvement on it.  One, registered by Bill Welch, is 
called 'Bright Spot.'  It often has up to five, bright yellow flowers on each 
stem, each bloom centered by a bright spot of orange-red color.  Bill has 
said that when he offers cut flowers of this one, it goes before anything 
else!  It is available from a few growers, as well as from Bill.  One of the 
older Division 8 hybrids that is a marvelous garden plant (with smaller, less 
floppy leaves!) is 'Golden Dawn,' an Oregon Bulb Farms hybrid.  It has a 
wonderful fragrance and bears half a dozen smallish flowers per stem but 
several stems per bulb.  It makes an attractive garden display in Spring 
(when grown in quantity), rather than mid to late Winter as is typical for 
the pure tazetta types.

Bill is beginning to release some of the hybrids he has created.  While these 
first ones tend more toward white, cream and lemon, there are many more of 
brighter coloring in the pipeline.

Grant Mitsch created a series of wonderful hybrids between Matador and N. 
jonquilla (Falconet, Hoopoe, Mot Mot, Radiant Gem, etc.).  They are all 
varying shades of yellow with orange-red crowns and are marked by a wonderful 
blend of the tazetta and jonquil perfumes.  

There are still more, if anyone is interested!!

Dave Karnstedt

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