How daffodils are grouped: finding your way around the Sales list

Over 30,000 daffodil hybrids have been named (although many of these have been lost to cultivation subsequently). In order to furnish some idea of what any given daffodil cultivar looks like, a classification system was established as far back as 1909.

In their heyday, many of the historical varieties we offer for sale would have been grouped under different Divisional names, which were in use until 1950. To set the scene, and, we hope, for passing interest, we have contrasted the pre-1950 system with the present-day classification in both the notes below and our Sales list.

Please note that occasionally it would appear that a daffodil cultivar was, inadvertently, classified under the wrong Division or sub-division under the pre-1950 system.

DIVISION 1

TRUMPET daffodils of garden origin

Trumpet as long as, or even longer, than the perianth segments (“petals”).

Pre-1950: The name and parameters of this Division were the same, although subdivisions existed until 1989 when colour-coding was introduced. Until 1950, the subdivisions were:

  • (a) Yellow trumpet and perianth (of same shade or lighter, but not white)
  • (b) White trumpet and perianth
  • (c) Bicoloured, with yellow trumpet and a white or whitish perianth.

Between 1950 and 1989, 1(b) and 1(c) were transposed to bring Division 1 into line with Divisions 2(c) and 3(c): subdivisions which were introduced in 1950, when Division 4, comprising the beautiful pale-cupped Leedsii cultivars, was absorbed into Divisions 2 and 3, depending on the cup-length of the flower.

DIVISION 2

LARGE-CUPPED daffodils of garden origin

Corona (cup) more than one-third, but less than equal, to the length of the perianth segments.

Pre-1950: The parameters of this Division were the same, although it was known as Incomparabilis, and subdivisions existed until 1989. Until 1950, the subdivisions were:

  • (a) Yellow corona, with or without orange and red shades, and yellow perianth (of same shade or lighter, but not white)
  • (b) Bicoloured, with yellow corona, with or without orange and red shades, and a white or whitish perianth.

Between 1950 and 1989, the subdivision, “2(c) Perianth white; corona white, not paler than the perianth” was in use to accommodate large-cupped Leedsii cultivars (4a) when Division 4 Leedsii was scrapped. In truth, the corona of a large-cupped Leedsii is often cream, pale yellow and/or tinged pink or apricot — particularly on opening.

DIVISION 3

SMALL-CUPPED daffodils of garden origin

Corona (cup) less than one-third the length of the perianth segments.

Pre-1950: The parameters of this Division were the same, although it was known as Barrii, and subdivisions existed until 1989. Until 1950, the subdivisions were:

  • (a) Yellow corona, with or without orange and red shades, and yellow perianth (of same shade or lighter, but not white)
  • (b) Bicoloured, with yellow corona, with or without orange and red shades, and a white or whitish perianth.

Between 1950 and 1989, the subdivision, “3(c) Perianth white; corona white, not paler than the perianth ” was in use to accommodate small-cupped Leedsii cultivars (4b) when Division 4 Leedsii was scrapped. As with 2(c), the corona of a small-cupped Leedsii is often cream, pale yellow and/or tinged pink or apricot — particularly on opening.

DIVISION 4

DOUBLE daffodils of garden origin

Pre-1950: The name and parameters of this Division were the same, although the Division was 10 rather than 4, as the latter was occupied by Leedsii. Leedsii daffodils were softly-coloured, white-perianthed hybrids with a corona of white, cream, or pale citron, which was sometimes tinged pink, peach or apricot on opening. Division 4 Leedsii was divided into two subdivisions:

  • (a) Corona more than one-third, but less than equal, to the length of the perianth segments (i.e., nowadays, Division 2 Large-Cupped)
  • (b) Corona less than one-third the length of the perianth segments (i.e., nowadays, Division 3 Small-Cupped)

Classifying a daffodil according to colouring, rather than morphology, became rather muddling, and the beautiful Leedsii hybrids were redistributed between Divisions 2 and 3, depending on the length of the corona, in 1950. The subdivisions 2(c) and 3(c), with “Perianth white; corona white, not paler than the perianth”, were established to accommodate the Leedsii refugees.

DIVISION 5

TRIANDRUS daffodils of garden origin

Characteristics of N. triandrus clearly evident, such as two or more pendent flowers with a reflexed perianth and usually quite a short corona and little or no scent. Most pre-1930 Triandrus were white-flowered.

Pre-1950: The name and parameters of this Division were the same.

DIVISION 6

CYCLAMINEUS daffodils of garden origin

Characteristics of N. cyclamineus clearly evident, such as a single flower with strongly reflexed perianth and often a long corona or trumpet and little or no scent.

Pre-1950: The name and parameters of this Division were the same.

DIVISION 7

JONQUILLA daffodils of garden origin

Characteristics of N. jonquilla clearly evident, such as one or more, strongly perfumed flowers. Most pre-1930 Jonquils were rich yellow, with, or without, orange staining in the corona.

Pre-1950: The name and parameters of this Division were the same.

DIVISION 8

TAZETTA daffodils of garden origin

Characteristics of N. tazetta clearly evident, such as eight or more, small, sweetly scented flowers (“true” Tazettas), or two or three, relatively large, white-perianthed, sweetly-scented flowers derived from crossing a “true” Tazetta with a Poet (Poetaz).

Pre-1950: The name and parameters of this Division were the same.

DIVISION 9

POETICUS daffodils of garden origin

Characteristics of N. poeticus and N. radiiflorus clearly evident, such as a pure white perianth, very shallow corona, often with a red rim; scented and late-flowering.

Pre-1950: The name and parameters of this Division were the same.

DIVISION 13

Daffodils of WILD origin, including species and naturally occurring forms and hybrids

Pre-1950: The name and parameters of this Division were the same, although the Division was 11.

Today, BULBOCODIUM cultivars occupy Division 10, and SPLIT-CORONAs (which did not appear until after 1950) Division 11. Hybrids which do not fit into any of the preceding Divisions are now classified as Division 12.