Leucospermum spp. (loo-ko-SPUR-mum)
Pincushion, Pincushion flower
These exotic blossoms have the distinctive appearance of a
pincushion filled with pins. Their spherical-shaped flower heads
and unusual color combinations add extreme texture to floral
Pincushion flowers will last for up to three weeks, depending on
the species and the care and handling procedures followed.
Pincushions will dry without shedding leaves or petals. They can
be used in dried flower arrangements, which can last for several
Several species of Leucospermums are available from world
markets. Some popular varieties include:
• ‘Tiara’ (L. patersonii), available October through November,
rich golden color
• ‘Goldie’ (L. cunieforme) (Wart-stemmed pincushion), available
November through January, bright lemon-yellow color
• ‘California Gold’ or ‘Hawaii Gold’ (L. conocarpodendron)
available November through January, golden-yellow color with
tints of pink
• L. cordifolium (Nodding pincushion), available November
through January, colors include red, orange and yellow
• ‘Red Rocket’ (L. reflexum) (Rocket pincushion), available
October through November, earth-tone red
Some varieties are available year-round from world markets, but
supplies will vary. Order in advance from growers or wholesalers
to ensure availability.
are not tropical flowers as many believe. Keep them in floral
coolers at 33 F to 35 F. Provide good air circulation, high
humidity and plenty of light (keep the cooler lights on) and
flower food to keep these flowers looking good and to prevent
the leaves from turning black.
Pincushions have a low sensitivity to ethylene gas.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR Purchase
flowers that have at least three rows of tubular florets
(styles) open. If flowers are too tight, they may not open
completely. Watch for blackened foliage or petals and for any
sign of fungus inside the sphere-shaped heads, which will range
from the size of a golf ball to a tennis ball.
MEANING The name
“Leucospermum” comes from the Greek words “leukos” for “white”
and “sperma” for “seed.”
FAMILY Leucospermums are
members of the Proteaceae family. Relatives include Proteas,
Leucadendrons and Banksias. The Proteaceae family is an ancient
one, perhaps one of the oldest known groups of flowering plants.
Scientific studies of plant life show that Proteas were present
300 million years ago. The first illustrations of Proteas
appeared in the early 1600s.
originate from South Africa along the southern and southwestern
coastal mountain ranges. Today, they are commercially grown in
Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Portugal and the United States
(Hawaii and California).
Some information provided by:
The Hawaii Tropical Flower Council,
California Protea Management,
The International Protea Association,
The Chain of Life NetworkÆ,
SAF’s Flower & Plant Care manual
You may reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown,
AIFD, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
Images courtesy of The California Cut Flower Commission
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