Gardeners are a jaded group. The most common philosophy is that the grass is greener on the other side. Color, form and preferences for shapes, sizes and fragrance all contribute to the near infinite number of possibilities for flower selection and design.
A common war cry is: What’s new this year? Can I live without it? Will I be the envy of the flower club?
Our desire for the newest and best led Decoded Plants to seek a daffodil hybridizer for his vision. Larry Force is a new hybridizer with registered daffodils to his credit.
His 2014 introductions are Shaw’s Legacy 9W-GYO and Shaw’s Gift 9W-GYR. When asked about his opinion for flower direction, Larry explained in an exclusive Decoded Plants interview:
“One somewhat new direction in hybridizing is the production of intermediate daffodils.” He says that the recognized size of an Intermediate daffodil is a “single bloom daffodil typically greater than 50mm through 80mm in diameter.”
So, how can you imagine the size of this group of daffodils in your head? There are 25.4 millimeters in every inch.
Doing some conversion, this means experts consider 1.97 inches to 3.15 inches across as Intermediate. We can round this to a general 2 to 3 inches in US standard lengths. A Campbell’s Soup can is about 67 millimeters across. As the classification indicates, these flowers are medium-sized blooms.
This size is the established horizontal flower measurement set forth by the 3 largest daffodil societies. These are the New Zealand Daffodil Society, the Daffodil Society of Great Britain and the American Daffodil Society. Each of these societies utilizes recorded measurements from hybridizers at the time of registration with the Royal Horticultural Society. This flower organization, established in 1898, represents daffodils for the International Nomenclature Committee.
The Daffodil Standards All Recognize
Today, our interest is in those daffodils between 50 and 80 millimeters in diameter. Recently, the Daffodil Society of Great Britain adjusted the upper parameter to 85 millimeters for those growers in the United Kingdom only.
They felt that cultivars had a tendency to grow larger in their environment. According to a filter for each of the three societies on Daffseek.com, only 7 are in common.
Certainly each society recognizes far more as Intermediates than these 7. In fact, Nancy Tackett, the second Vice President of the American Daffodil Society, in an interview with Decoded Plants, responds that the American Daffodil Society has approximately 300 recognized cultivars considered to be intermediates.
Daffseek.com is a large database where all known registered hybrids along with species can be accessed. There are several ways to search daffodils on this site. It is easy to use.
All known quantifiable information about the daffodil is listed too. Often a number of submitted images by the registrant as well as other daffodil enthusiasts can be seen with the click of your mouse. Please visit this site for more images of these intermediate daffodils as well as any others recognized by their national organization.
Concern over definition and size is always an on-going concern for any large international group of enthusiasts. Should you become interested in displaying Intermediate Daffodils, it is always best to follow published listings for your area. The list for each national society is quite a bit more extensive. This is because they incorporate local growing conditions in their official lists.
Displaying daffodils is an activity many enjoy. Intermediates, as they are commonly referred, are a newer interest because they fill a niche between small flowers and large. This is a relatively open area for new work by hybridizers.
Larry Force feels it is important because this is another way of “getting more color in the miniatures.” He explains this “is being accomplished . . . by crossing the above very colorful Intermediate daffodils with smaller species.”
That is why hybridizers are doing more work with this size flower. Not only is the size becoming fashionable, but hybridizers can send the reduction in size while retaining vibrant colors to the small flowers. “For years most of the miniatures were either white or yellow,” says Larry.
Whole new vistas are open to the creative hybridizer. Now, hybridizers can cross small-flowered daffodils with Intermediates to produce colorful small flowers.
The 7 Intermediate daffodils that are common between all three national organizations are: Bantam 2Y-YOO, Birthday Girl 2W-GWW, Elfin Dell 2W-P, Elfin Moon 2W-W, Perfeck 2Y-Y, Scarlet Tanager 2Y-R and Topolino 1W-Y.
There are 13 Divisions of Daffodil determined by the shape of the flower, the ratio of the cup length to the petal length and how many flowers are produced on each stem. All help to define the placement of a cultivar into a particular Division.
The first number lets the reader know what Division a flower belongs to. The first color code lets the reader know what the petal color is. And, the color code after the hyphen lets the reader know the cup (also called corona) color. This is shorthand for Daffodil growers so they can picture the flower in their mind without looking it up.
It becomes second nature to a Daffodil gardener to learn these Divisions and color codes as they become better acquainted with the system. Please visit one of the national societies for a more detailed explanation.
Daffodil cultivars are always accompanied with their color code. Daffodils classified as Intermediates are in Divisions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 11. Daffodils in the other Divisions are typically smaller flowers so they remain excluded.
Daffodil: Small, Large, and Intermediate
We can quickly summarize this whole complex discussion as a call for smaller Daffodil flowers in divisions that typically have larger flowers.
There are several good reasons for this popular fashion. The first is that this is a new open area for development. The second is that these new cultivars can serve as a bridge between the large flowers and the small flowers.
This bridge will allow the interchange of genetic information that can produce more colors. And, of course, not everyone wants a large flower. Many want smaller more delicate sizes.
Please keep Intermediates in mind when you are looking for new Daffodils to plant in the fall. Let your other daffodil friends share in your new interest. Whole new areas of competition and sharing will result between your friends. Your interest will encourage hybridizers like Larry to produce newer Intermediate Daffodils.