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Wolfhagen : a forgotten pioneer
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Wolfhagen : a forgotten pioneer

  • AU TAS UTAS SPARC 2022/7
  • Collection
  • 2022

Photocopy of and article written by Davis Willis regarding Ernest Henry Waldemar Wolfhagen and the cultivation in Tasmania of the first commercially available reverse bicolor daffodil "Binkie".
I had just completed my prediction that the ancestors of the reverse bicolor trait, as seen in 'Binkie' were unlikely to be determined any time soon when an offer to look into its background was received via Caroline Thomson, Director and owner of the National Heritage and Scientific Collection of Backhouse daffodils. The offer was made to Caroline by the University of Dundee/James Hutton Institute, to look into the background of some of the old Backhouse cultivars, but when Caroline mentioned my work on Wolfhagen and 'Binkie' the offer was extended to include 'Binkie'. This is a tremendous opportunity to finally solve the mystery of the origin of the reverse bicolor characteristic and work will begin in April 2023, when leaf tips of 'Binkie' will be taken to the University. (The James Hutton Institute is a globally recognised organisation delivering fundamental and applied research and is situated at Invergowrie, Dundee).
Since the emergence of 'Binkie' as the first commercial reverse bicolor daffodil and its later extensive use in breeding, particularly by Guy Wilson in Northern Ireland and Grant Mitsch in the USA, this type of daffodil has become increasingly important and sought after, an outstanding modern example, 'Altun Ha' having 'Binkie' in its background. 'Binkie' itself has stood the test of time, still being commercially obtainable, some 80 years after its first appearance at the Hobart Show.

David Willis