Page 5 - Super Floral > March 2016 Issue
P. 5

cut flower

             bells-of-ireland

     One of the few true green flowers, these distinctive spikes are
        popular in arrangements of all styles and for all occasions.

BOTANICAL NAME                           buying tips                               FULL OF PRICKLES Leaves and stems are
Moluccella laevis                                                                  prickly because of the tiny thorns they
                                         n Look for straight, thick and
 (mow-LUCK-sell-uh LAY-uh-vis,           sturdy stems, with 80 percent to          bear, so handle them with care or wear
 also mow-loo-SELL-uh LAY-vis)           90 percent of the “bells” (calyxes)
                                         open and the tiny flowers inside          gloves to prevent skin irritation.
COMMON NAMES                             still immature.
Bells-of-Ireland, Shellflower,           n The stems and “bells” are soft,         MAXIMUM EXPOSURE If you wish, remove
Molucca balm                             so check for bruising, broken tips        leaves from stems to allow the bells to
                                         and other general damage due
description                              to handling.                              become more conspicuous.
                                         n Make sure the color of the calyx-
Bells-of-Ireland are tall stalks with    es, leaves and stems is uniform and       DRIED FLOWERS Bells-of-Ireland air-dry
bell-shaped apple-green calyxes          not yellowish or blotchy.                 nicely and can be used in permanent
that appear in whorls of six on the
upper halves of the stems. The true      care and handling                         and dried arrangements. Simply select
flowers, which are mildly fragrant,
tiny and either white or pale lilac,     See “General Cut Flower Care” at www.     stems that are fully developed; bundle
occur inside the calyxes. Stems          superfloral.com. In addition to those
typically range from 24 to 40 inches     steps, bells-of-Ireland require the       them loosely in small clusters; and hang
in length and are covered with tiny      following specific care procedures.
thorns that may cause skin irritation.                                             them upside down in a cool, dark and
                                         FOOD AND WATER Change the flower-
vase life                                food solution and recut the stems         dry location with good air circulation.
                                         every other day. This will enable the
Longevity of these flowers at the con-   flowers to continuously take up fresh     fun facts
sumer level can vary from five to 10     nutrient solution and maximize their
days depending on care from farm to      vase life.                                FAMILY TREE Moluccella is a member
store and maturity at the time of sale.  CURVED STEMS Bells-of-Ireland stems       of the Lamiaceae/Labiatae (mint)
                                         are both geotropic (affected by the       family. In addition to all types of
availability                             forces of gravity) and phototropic (will  mints, close relatives include
                                         curve toward any light source). To        Swedish ivy, Coleus, hyssop,
Bells-of-Ireland are available year-     reduce the possibility of curved stems,   Physostegia, lavender, marjoram/
round from both domestic and             keep these flowers upright in storage     oregano, rosemary, thyme and
international growers. Peak season       containers and away from any strong       sage (Salvia) — many of which are
is June through October, depending       side lighting.                            recognized by their “square” stems.
on source.                               QUICK REPAIR If a stem tip becomes
                                         broken during handling, insert a wire     HOME SWEET HOME Despite the com-
                                         into the hollow stem to repair the        mon name “bells-of-Ireland,” these
                                         damage. Usually, no wilting will occur    flowers are not native to Ireland.
                                         if the stem has not been severed.         Rather, bells-of-Ireland hail from
                                         PROPER GROOMING Remove calyxes from       the eastern Mediterranean region
                                         the stems as they fade, which typically   and Western Asia, including the
                                         will start at the bottom of the stems.    countries of Turkey, Cyprus, Leba-
                                                                                   non, Syria and Iraq, as well as the
                                                                                   Caucasus region (Armenia, Georgia
                                                                                   and Azerbaijan).

                                                                                   WHAT’S IN A NAME The genus
                                                                                   Moluccella gets its name from the
                                                                                   Indonesian Molucca Islands (Spice
                                                                                   Islands), which were once mistaken-
                                                                                   ly thought to be these flowers’ native
                                                                                   land. The species name “laevis”
                                                                                   means smooth, possibly in refer-
                                                                                   ence to the texture of the calyxes. sf

16 www.superfloral.com / march 2016      Super Floral has created this page for the education of
                                         store-level employees. To download a reprintable PDF,
                                         go to www.superfloral.com and select “Current Issue.”
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10