The structural homology of the daffodil corona has remained a source of debate throughout the history of botany. Over the years it has been separately referred to as a modified petal stipule, stamen and tepal. Here we provide insights from anatomy and molecular studies to clarify the early developmental stages and position of corona initiation in Narcissus bulbocodium. We demonstrate that the corona initiates as six separate anlagen from hypanthial tissue between the stamens and perianth. Scanning electron microscope images and serial sections demonstrate that corona initiation occurs late in development, after the other floral whorls are fully developed. To define more precisely the identity of the floral structures, daffodil orthologues of the ABC floral organ identity genes were isolated and expression patterns were examined in perianth, stamens, carpel, hypanthial tube and corona tissue. Coupled with in situ hybridisation experiments, these analyses showed that the expression pattern of the C-class gene NbAGAMOUS in the corona is more similar to that of the stamens than that of the tepals. In combination, our results demonstrate that the corona of the daffodil N. bulbocodium exhibits stamen-like identity, develops independently from the orthodox floral whorls and is best interpreted as a late elaboration of the region between the petals and stamens associated with epigyny and the hypanthium. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.