Imagine the ‘must have’ appeal in the early 1900s of this award-winning, large-flowered, golden trumpet daffodil! The clamour to acquire bulbs, the high prices paid and the affection in which these heralds of spring were held. It is easier then to understand how the nursery trade often sold the true ‘King Alfred’ as well as many improved versions under the name the customers demanded. So, a little like the roo on the Qantas plane tail and the leaf on the Canadian flag, Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ has become a generic name for many early season, tall, golden trumpet daffodil cultivars. The symbol for the Cancer Council also takes this form.
The breeder or raiser, John Kendall of England, worked on ‘King Alfred’ prior to his death in 1890 and it was registered with the Royal Horticultural Society in 1899.
Today, bulbs sold as ‘King Alfred’ are descendents of the 'king' with cultivars such as ‘Unsurpassable’, ‘Golden Harvest’ and others blended into these attempts to improve the golden trumpet daffodil.
Our sources for bulbs have been the Victorian growers plus material shipped from Holland to Mount Tomah by Alfred Brunet between 1930 and 1960. The latter have been examined by experts and thought not to be the original 'king'.
A few bulb growers in Holland maintain some true ‘King Alfred’ daffodils.