Ebenus cretica, Leguminosae, an endemic perennial bush of Crete, is being studied as a potential new cut flower crop. Forty-centimeter-long spikes with two to three inflorescences and six to eight compound leaves were harvested from 5-year-old plants grown from seed at the farm of the TEI, when 1/3 of the florets had opened, and were treated with various preservatives. Flower quality was evaluated morphologically combined with measurements of chlorophyll content in leaves and anthocyanin in petals. Without any postharvest treatments, inflorescences held in a solution of 100 ppm 8-hydroxyquinone sulfate (HQS) in DI water had an average vaselife of 6.8 days. Pulsing with 0.6 mM silver thiosulfate (STS) for 2 h extended vaselife up to 8.4 days. However, when ethephon was added in the solution, vaselife was significantly reduced, causing leaf yellowing and flower senescence, which suggests sensitivity to exogenous ethylene. A solution of 0.2% Ca(NO3)2 prolonged vaselife by 2.7 days, whereas higher concentrations resulted in flower discoloration and decreased flower quality. Sucrose solutions of 0.5%, 1%, 2%, and 4% had no positive effect on flower longevity. Furthermore, the higher concentrations caused leaf yellowing and petal discoloration decreasing vaselife and quality of flowers compared to control. Samples of inflorescences were taken every second day for chlorophyll (a and b) and anthocyanin measurements. The concentrations recorded were highest in the 0.2% Ca(NO3)2 treatment and were significantly correlated to flower longevity. Results indicate that Ebenus cretica may be used as a cut flower crop; however, due to the genetic variability of the Ebenus plants, a breeding line should be developed before the crop reaches the floricultural market.
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