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Liatris spicata (ly-A-tris spee-kah-ta)
Blazing star, Gay-feather,
These cut flowers form slender, 6- to 10-inch-tall spikes with
needlelike petals. The stems can grow as long as 32 inches.
Liatrises are most often found in hues
of violet, from deep purple to lavender. Pink, rose and white
varieties are available, too.
With proper care and handling, Liatrises should last from six to
Popular varieties include ‘Floristan Purple’, ‘Floristan White’,
‘Gloriosa’ (purple), ‘September Glory’ (purple) and ‘White
Liatrises are available year-round.
REFRIGERATION Store the
flowers in a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F, at a humidity level
between 90 percent and 95 percent.
WATER Check the water level
daily and add warm flower-food solution as needed. Recut stems
every three to four days to ensure effective water uptake.
Liatrises have a low sensitivity to ethylene gas.
PROCESSING Treat Liatrises
with a bud-opening solution during processing. Doing so will
increase the number of florets that open on the spikes and the
overall vase life of the flowers.
Avoid purchasing spikes with more than three-quarters of the
blooms already opened.
FOLIAGE Botrytis and water
stress will cause leaf yellowing and reduced life.
DESIGN TIPS Alone in a vase
or blended with other flowers, these linear stems make a
dramatic statement. The florets bloom all around the stems, so
they are excellent choices for arrangements that are to be
viewed from all sides.
CONSUMER CARE TIPS Advise
customers to display these blossoms in as cool a location as
possible, out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. If
possible, they should put the flowers in the coldest rooms at
night and mist them for longer enjoyment.
CAUTION There have been
reports of florists suffering from contact dermatitis with
exposure to Liatrises. If problems occur, wear gloves when
processing and designing with the flowers.
MEANING The species name
“spicata” comes from the Latin “spica” for “spike.”
FAMILY Liatris is a member
of the Asteraceae (formerly Compositae) family. It is a cousin
to many other important floral crops including chrysanthemums (Dendranthema),
cornflowers (Centaurea), Asters, Zinnias, Gerberas and Dahlias.
ORIGINS Liatrises are native
to the meadows and marshes of North America, including areas of
Canada, Florida and Colorado. U.S. supplies are commercially
primarily in California and Central and South America.
IDEAL FOR DRYING Liatrises
are suitable for drying and are often sold as dried bunches. The
flowers can be air-dried by hanging them upside down in a
well-ventilated area at 70 F to 80 F for two to four weeks. To
refresh and soften them, place them in a floral refrigerator 24
hours before use. The humidity will leave them softened, and
there will be far less damage during designing.
UNUSUAL BLOOMER Unlike most
linear flowers, which open from the bottoms to the tops of the
spikes, the top florets of Liatrises open first, and blooming
Some information provided by:
Tano Nuevo Flowers Inc., Pescadero, Calif.
The Chain of Life NetworkĆ,
The Society of American Florists’ 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.
Most images courtesy of Asocolflores, The Colombian
Association of Flower Exporters
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