The King Alfred Daffodil, as befits its name, is a member of the first division of the narcissus genus, the Trumpet Daffodils. Trumpet Daffodils are those where the trumpet (also called the corona or flower cup) is as long or longer than the perianth (petals). King Alfred Daffodils are among the largest of the trumpet daffodils, standing up to 22 inches high with blooms up to four inches wide.
The King Alfred Daffodil was named after one of England's greatest medieval kings and just as their namesake was called the greatest of kings, King Alfred Daffodils often are referred to as the greatest daffodil of all time. First hybridized in England in the late 1890's, the King Alfred Daffodil has since been developed and "improved" so that the true cultivar has all but vanished.
Prized for their deep golden blooms and twisted petals that end in a point, King Alfred Daffodils remain the world's favorite daffodil cultivar. However, if you are lucky enough to have some, treat them with care. Sadly, nurseries no longer sell the true King Alfred Daffodil commercially. Those who long for the deep rich golden color of King Alfred Daffodils may want to try the Dutch Master or a newer hybrid called Marieke (pronounced MAREEKA) which is the successor to the King Alfred Daffodil's throne. Although neither The Dutch Master nor Marieke has legitimate claims to the crown, both will tower regally in your spring garden.
Still, you will find many similar daffodils bearing the name King Alfred Daffodil, for even as the original hybrid dwindled this hardy flower maintained its popularity and is still very much in demand. If you are fortunate enough to find a friend that has the King Alfred Daffodil and is willing to part with some bulbs, you'll find that the King Alfred Daffodil is a rapidly multiplying flower that will give you a lifetime of enjoyment with minimum care and a chance for you to pass on it regal tradition to another friend!
The narcissus family is divided into 12 divisions of 25 species and over 13,000 hybrids. However, it isn't only diverse selection that makes growing daffodils an easy introduction to gardening. Daffodils are prolific multipliers. While many other types of bulbs dwindle in a few short years, with minimal care, a planting of daffodil bulbs lasts a lifetime!