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Cut Flower
of the month

            
stephanotis

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BOTANICAL NAME

Stephanotis floribunda
(stef-ah-NO-tis flor-ih-BUN-duh)

COMMON NAMES
Madagascar jasmine, Wax flower, Bridal wreath,
Floradora

DESCRIPTION
These 1-inch-diameter star-shaped florets have an intense fragrance that is reminiscent of true jasmine (Jasminum officinale), which is how they came by one of their common names.

COLORS
Stephanotises are available in white only. The flowers will appear ivory, near white or yellow as they mature and fade.

VASE LIFE
With proper care and handling, Stephanotis florets can last for one to two days in wedding designs. They can last from three to five days if they are floated in water or if the flowers are still on the vine and placed in a water source.

AVAILABILITY

Stephanotises are available year-round, with their peak seasons in the summer and autumn. Give growers and wholesalers several weeks’ advance notice to ensure they will be available for off-season projects.

PROCESSING
Stephanotises generally are sold as florets only. Take these steps to care for them:
1 Remove the florets from their packaging.
2 Float them in room-temperature water for 20 minutes.
3 Gently remove them from the water, and place them into a sealable bag or airtight container.
4 Blow some carbon dioxide into the container, and seal.
5 Store the Stephanotises in a floral refrigerator at no lower than 42 F for at least two hours before use. If they are kept in airtight bags or boxes with high humidity, they can be stored for up to one week at 42 F or above.

SPECIAL HANDLING
These fragile flowers require a skilled and gentle touch. A good practice is to have wet hands while working with them. Antitranspirants can be used with Stephanotises to prevent dehydration.

VASE-LIFE EXTENDERS
WATER Stephanotis florets do not take water up the stems after harvesting and usually are packaged in airtight containers with moistened, shredded tissue paper to keep humidity levels high.
ETHLENE SENSITIVITY Stephanotises have a low sensitivity to ethylene gas.

OF NOTE
DESIGN TIPS Many designers embellish Stephanotises by adding pearls or beads into the center of the trumpets. This is especially appropriate when a bride’s gown has similar detailing. The beads can be glued into the center or strung on a “hairpin” wire. Some florists add decorative corsage pins into the centers. Although Stephanotises are available only in white, aerosol colorants work well if other colors are needed.

FUN FACTS
MEANING The name “Stephanotis” comes from the Greek words “stephanos,” which means “crown,” and “otos,” which means “ear,” referring to the five earlike appendages to the staminal crown at the flower’s center. The species name “floribunda” means “many flowers.”
FAMILY Stephanotises are members of the Asclepiadaceae (as-kle-pee-ad-AY-see-ay), or milkweed, family. Relatives include Hoyas (wax plant), Ceropegias (rosary vine), Asclepias (butterfly weed) and Oxypetalums/Tweedias.
ORIGINS Stephanotises are native to Madagascar and tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia.

WHEN BUYING
Look for florets that are bright white, waxy and plump. There should no signs of bruising, yellowing, spotting, mold or wilt. Stephanotises generally are sold as florets only, in groups of 25 or 50. Some growers pack “super” boxes of 300 or more florets and include the vines. These are the best buys. You can use the vines for today’s cascading “waterfall” designs.

Some information provided by:
The Chain of Life NetworkÆ, www.chainoflifenetwork.org
Brannan Street Wholesale Florist, Inc., San Francisco, Calif.
Plant-Care.com, www.plant-care.com/index.html
Plantfacts.com, www.plantfacts.com/Family/Asclepiadaceae/Stephanotis.floribunda.shtml
http://hibiscus-sinensis.com/tropical/stephanotis.htm
Dave’s Garden, http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/53785/index.html

You may reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at sbfloral@aol.com or by phone at (415) 239-3140.


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