of the month
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Nerine spp. (Nur-EEN or ne-REEN)
Guernsey lily, Spider lily
Nerines’ individual flowers are composed of six ruffled,
strap-shaped petals. The stems of these bulb flowers are 16 to
28 inches long and leafless.
These striking blossoms come in a wide spectrum of pink hues,
from brilliant fuchsia to blush. Nerines also can be found in
hues of white, reddish-orange and deep red.
Nerines can last from six to 14 days, depending upon the variety
and the care they receive.
In general, Nerines are available year-round, but check in
advance with your wholesaler or grower. Market prices will vary
greatly depending on the source.
REFRIGERATION Nerines are
somewhat chill sensitive. Keep the flowers refrigerated, but do
not allow the temperature to go below 37 F.
WATER Misting these flowers
frequently is beneficial.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Some
varieties of Nerines have been found to be sensitive to ethylene
gas, which can cause the flowers to take on a crepelike
appearance. Check with your supplier to make sure your flowers
have been treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower
level or during transportation.
BULB FOOD A flower food that
is specifically formulated for bulb flowers is best for Nerines.
FAMILY Nerines are members
of the Amaryllidaceae family, which includes about 90 genera and
1,200 species including Agapanthus (lily-of-the-nile), Clivia (kaffir
lily), Hippeastrum (amaryllis) and Narcissus (daffodil). Most
members of the Amaryllidaceae family are true bulbs.
ORIGINS The genus Nerine is
made up of approximately 30 species of small- to medium-sized
bulbous plants that are native to South Africa.
HISTORY The Rev. William
Herbert, an Amaryllid expert, established the Nerine genus in
1820. It is said he named it for Nerine, the Greek mythological
sea nymph, or for Nereide, the daughter of Nereus, son of
BLOSSOMS Bulbs can take up
to two years to develop before they are strong enough to produce
a blossom. Bigger bulbs can produce two stems or more when
DESIGN TIPS These blossoms
create an instant focal point in any type of design. They show
well in contemporary
design styles such as vegetative, parallel
systems and formal-linear designs. Nerines are excellent in
hand-tied bouquets, and individual florets can be used in
wedding and corsage work.
CONSUMER CARE TIPS Advise
customers to display their flowers in cool areas away from the
sun and other heat sources including electronic equipment. The
flowers shouldn’t be placed near bowls of fruit because ethylene
gas can hasten development and shorten vase life.
CAUTION All parts of these
bulb flowers can be mildly toxic if ingested, causing vomiting
and/or diarrhea. Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
These flowers also can cause contact dermatitis in some people.
BLOOMS AND STEMS Look for
puffy, undamaged heads and several tight buds just opening and
showing color. Avoid blossoms and stems with any brown spots or
signs of mold or rot.
Some information provided by:
The California Cut Flower Commission,
The Flower Council of Holland,
Shields Gardens Ltd.,
Flower Promotion Organization,
The Chain of Life Network® ,
Photos courtesy of the California Cut Flower Commission and
the Flower Council of Holland
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.
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