News ID: 233850
Published: 1013 GMT November 05, 2018

Secret of the poet's daffodil revealed

Secret of the poet's daffodil revealed
RODNEY LAY/RHS

The secrets of a flower known as the poet's daffodil fell to science.

The genetic code of the daffodil's chloroplast — the DNA responsible for photosynthesis — was mapped for the first time, BBC reported.

Narcissus poeticus was one of the first daffodils to be cultivated and is linked to the Greek legend of Narcissus.

In Greek mythology, the flower that bears his name sprang up where he died.

Researchers from the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the University of Reading deciphered the genetic code of the chloroplast — where the energy from the light of the Sun is turned into food by photosynthesis.

Daffodils facts

Daffodils have long been considered one of the heralds of spring. They can be planted in borders and containers. The Latin name of the plant family is Narcissus. Some species hybridize in the wild, and many horticultural crosses between species have resulted in a large range of colorful garden hybrids.

The research could solve the problem of how to make sure daffodil bulbs planted in bulk come up the same color.

There are more than 1,500 different varieties of daffodils, and their bulbs all look the same.

Gardeners are sometimes disappointed when the bulbs they have planted in autumn come up a different color the next spring.

John David, the head of horticultural taxonomy at the RHS, said chloroplast DNA is a good way of finding a marker that is specific to a particular cultivar (a plant variety that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding).

"This is an exciting first step in identifying daffodil varieties at the point they are most popularly bought but when there is nothing to tell them apart," he said.

"With so many bulbs due to be planted this autumn it is a huge industry and we hope our work might avoid disappointment for professionals who plant en masse and gardeners who will often seek out their tried and tested favorites."

 

RODNEY LAY/RHS

 

   
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Resource: BBC
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