Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Symphony of Daffodils

April 24–25, The Chambersburg Garden Club and Tuscarora Daffodil Group will present the 74th Annual Standard Flower Show and the 38th PA State Daffodil Show. The Theme is “Symphony of Daffodils”.

Times for the Show: Saturday April 24, 2010 –1:30 to 7 pm, Sunday April 25, 2010 from 12 noon to 4 pm. Place: First Lutheran Church, 43 West Washington St., Chambersburg. Open to the public, free admission.

Franklin County Master Gardeners will have an educational display highlighting our public outreach efforts on pollinators.

Dr. Holly Scaggins, the Virginia Tech contingent from the Garden Professor's blog, recently posted some interesting facts about our favorite Narcissus, sharing her research into the reasons why daffodils are such bad neighbors when it comes to sharing space in a floral arrangement:
So is there really an effect and if so, what makes daffodil sap deleterious to the other flowers in the vase? The study “Effects of Daffodil Flowers on the Water Relations and Vase Life of Roses and Tulips” by W.G. van Doorn appeared in the Journal of Horticulture Science. Dr.van Doorn found the mucilage (sap) was indeed to blame, with just one daff shortening the vase life of both the tulips and roses by almost half. But what component?
He split out the alkaloid fraction and the sugar fraction of the sap, and then added them as individual components to the vase water. He drew different conclusions as to the cause: the research indicated that the effect in roses is mainly due to the sugar and polysaccharide fraction of the mucilage stimulating bacterial growth. This clogged the rose’s vascular system resulting in bent neck. You’ve seen this before – the bud, yet to open, flops over, never to recover.
These same sugars didn’t impact the tulips negatively but the alkaloids sure did. Even touching the sap to the tulip foliage produced a yellow spot. He was not able to distinguish which of the six alkaloids detected were responsible, but at least narrowed down the cause.
Oh, and the reason they are left alone by squirrels, deer, and such:
There is such a thing as “daffodil picker’s rash” which has been reported in the journal of Contact Dermatitis (Julian and Bowers, 1997). The authors attribute this rash to the “crystals of calcium oxalate in the sap, in conjunction with alkaloids, [which] act as an irritant, and also cause the characteristic sores.”  Said calcium oxalate crystals are found throughout the daffodil, in the bulb, stem, sap, flowers, etc. Micrographs show that these crystals are needle-sharp, and apparently very painful. This is why deer and bunnies will not eat your daffs.
I plan to be a little more careful when I pick them in the future.

Speaking of the Garden Professors - lookit who got a gold star for guessing last week's diagnosis problem correctly

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