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Motoaki Doi and Michael S. Reid

Regardless of their maturity at harvest, the vase life of cut inflorescences of the hybrid Limonium `Fantasia' placed in deionized water was 4 to 5 days. A vase solution containing Physan (a quaternary ammonium disinfectant solution) at 200 μl·liter–1 and 20 g sucrose/liter not only prolonged the longevity of individual florets but also promoted bud opening so that the vase life of cut inflorescences extended to 17 days. Pulse treatment with 100 g sucrose/liter in combination with Physan at 200 μl·liter–1 for 12 hours partially substituted for a continuous supply of sucrose. Including 30 mg gibberellic acid/liter in the vase solution was without benefit.

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Michelle G. Wirthensohn, Margaret Sedgley, and Renate Ehmer

Optimum pruning height for cut foliage production was investigated for 3-year-old trees of Eucalyptus globulus Labill. Trees cut at a height of 1.0 m above ground level had most stems resprouting from the trunk, but a pruning height of 0.5 m produced the longest stems. Postharvest trials were conducted to assess the vase life of cut stems, and the effect of pulsing and simulated transportation on vase life. Holding solutions containing 1% or 2% sucrose and 8-HQC at 200 mg·L–1 significantly increased vase life of E. globulus and E. cinerea F. Muell. ex Benth. over the control, but pulsing E. cinerea in 1%, 5%, or 10% sucrose plus 8-HQC for 2 hours at 24 °C or 24 hours at 3 °C had no effect. In simulated transport trials, pulsing overnight in 1% or 5% sucrose plus 8-HQC at 3 °C followed by 1 week dry storage at 3 °C had no effect on the vase life of cut stems of E. sideroxylon Cunn. ex Wools., E. platypus Hook., E. spathulata Hook., E. cladocalyx F. Muell. E. platypus, or E. spathulata E. sargentii Maiden, but a 5% sucrose pulse plus 8-HQC significantly increased the vase life of E. spathulata E. platypus. A long pulse at low temperature (24 hours/3 °C) followed by 1 week dry storage was more effective than a short pulse at high temperature (2 hours/24 °C) for E. albida Maiden & Blakely stems and no sucrose was more effective than 1% or 5%. Thus, a pruning height of 0.5 or 1.0 m was optimum for cut foliage production of E. globulus, and a 2% sucrose holding solution extended vase life. There was no advantage of sucrose pulsing to extend vase life, or to improve vase life following dry storage, except for the hybrid E. spathulata E. platypus. Chemical name used: 8-hydroxyquinoline citrate (8-HQC).

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Tim D. Davis, Wayne A. Mackay, and Narendra Sankhla

Big Bend bluebonnet (Lupinus havardii Wats.) is native to a narrow geographic range in southwestern Texas and produces attractive blue inflorescences (racemes) that may be used as cut flowers. Several crops were produced in the greenhouse to determine postharvest-characteristics of the cut inflorescences. Without any postharvest conditioning treatments, the inflorescences held in water had an average vase life of about 7 days. During this period, an average of 13 flowers abscised per inflorescence. When preconditioned for 4 hours in 40 to 160 mg·liter−1 silver thiosulfate (STS), vase life increased to 10 to 12 days and fewer than three flowers abscised per inflorescence. A commercial floral preservative (Oasis) had no effect on flower abscission or vase life of STS-treated inflorescences. Flower abscission and vase life were the same whether STS-treated inflorescences were placed in floral foam moistened with water or in water alone. Storing STS-preconditioned inflorescences in water at 5C for 72 hours did not affect flower abscission or vase life compared to the unstored control. Dry postharvest storage at 5C for 72 hours caused noticeable wilting, but, on dehydration, these inflorescences still had a vase life of about 8 days. Postharvest characteristics of pink-and white-flowered breeding lines were the same as for the blue-flowered line. These results indicate that cut inflorescences of L. havardii have desirable postharvest qualities and can be stored for up to 72 hours without seriously limiting vase life.

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Fisun G. Çelikel and Michael S. Reid

The respiration of cut flowers of gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii H. Bolus ex Hook.f. `Vesuvio') and sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) increased exponentially with increasing storage temperature. Poststorage vase life and negatively gravitropic bending of the neck of the flowers were both strongly affected by simulated transport at higher temperatures. Vase life and stem bending after dry storage showed highly significant linear relationships (negative and positive, respectively) with the rate of respiration during storage. The data indicate the importance of maintaining temperatures close to the freezing point during commercial handling and transport of these important commercial cut-flower crops for maximum vase life.

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Peter R. Hicklenton

Leaf yellowing of Alstroemeria hybrida L. `Rio' and `Jacqueline', as measured by sphere spectrocolorimetry, was significantly delayed in vase life studies when the ends of cut stems were immersed in solutions of BAP or GA3 immediately following harvest. When BAP or GA3 was used alone at 50 mg·liter-1, foliage color and color intensity did not diminish during 14 days of storage in tap water. BAP and GA3 also showed interaction effects on leaf color, but little was gained by using combinations of chemicals. Chemical names used: 6N-benzylaminopurine (BAP); gibberellin (GA3).

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Robert H. Stamps

Four spunbonded crop covers were evaluated for use with and without irrigation for cold protection of leatherleaf fern [Rumohra adiantiformis (Forst.) Ching]. Heavier and less porous covers provided the most protection when used without over-the-crop irrigation. However, differences in cover weight and porosity did not affect temperatures under covers when over-the-crop irrigation was applied. Damage to immature fronds was decreased by 75% to 99% when the covers were used alone and by 98% to 99% when the covers were used with over-the-crop irrigation. Covers had no effect on frond vase life.

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Meng-Jen Wu, Lorenzo Zacarias, Mikal E. Saltveit, and Michael S. Reid

Continuous treatment with 8% ethanol doubled the vase life of `White Sim' carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) flowers. Other alcohols, other concentrations of ethanol, or pulse treatments with up to 8% ethanol had little or no effect. Butanol and longer-chain alcohols shortened vase life and caused the flower stem to fold. During their eventual senescence, the petals of ethanol-treated flowers did not inroll; instead, individual petals dried slowly from their tips. Very little ethylene was produced by ethanol-treated flowers, and the normal increase in ACC content and EFE activity was also suppressed. Ethanol treatment also decreased the flowers' sensitivity to exogenous ethylene.

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Theresa Bosma and John M. Dole

Various postharvest treatments were evaluated for effect on longevity and quality of cut Campanula medium L. `Champion Blue' and `Champion Pink' stems. Stems stored at 2 °C either wet or dry had no difference in vase life or percent flowers opened; however, flowers stored dry had a slightly greater percentage of senesced flowers at termination. Increasing storage duration from 1 to 3 weeks decreased vase life. Stems pretreated for 4 hours with 38 °C floral solution (deionized water amended to pH 3.5 with citric acid and 200 mg·L-1 8-HQC) or a 1-MCP pulse followed by a 5% sucrose pulse solution produced the longest vase life (10.3 or 10.4 days, respectively). Flowers opening after treatments commenced were paler than those flowers already opened and a 24-hour pretreatment with 5% or 10% sucrose did not prevent this color reduction. Stems had an average vase life of only 3.3 days when placed in floral vase foam but lasted 10.0 days without foam. Optimum sucrose concentration was 1.0% to 2.0% for stems placed in 22 °C floral vase solution without foam and 4% for stems placed in foam. High (110 μmol·m-2·s-1) or low (10 μmol·m-2·s-1) light levels did not affect postharvest parameters, but the most recently opened flowers were paler under low light conditions than under high light conditions. Chemical names used: 8-hydroxyquinoline citrate (8-HQC); 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP).

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John W. Kelly and Terri W. Starman

Physostegia purpurea Blake is a native, herbaceous perennial that has potential as a field-grown cut flower. Physostegia stems were harvested with one third of the florets open and were recut underwater in the laboratory. Fresh cut flowers treated with silver thiosulfate (STS) and held in a 2% preservative solution lasted 14 days, while control stems in deionized water (DI) lasted 6 days. Cut stems placed in darkness at 0C for 1 week had 8 days of vase life after removal from storage and treatment with STS and preservative, while stems held in DI after storage lasted only 4 days. Stems held dry at 22.5C and 43% RH for 8 hours before being placed in preservative had similar vase life as flowers placed in preservative immediately after harvest.

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Rod Jones and John Faragher

Five members of the Proteaceae and 13 Australian native cut flower cultivars were stored for 35 days under standard conditions at 1C to assess their ability to withstand long-term storage and transport. Protea cynaroides L., Leucadendron `Silvan Red', Leucospermum `Firewheel', Thryptomene calycina (Lindl.) Stapf., Telopea speciosissima R. Br., and Verticordia grandtiflora Endl. retained a vase life of at least 7 days after 21 days of storage. Leucospermum cordifolium Salisb. ex Knight, Protea neriifoli R. Br., Chamelaucium uncinatum `Alba', C. uncinatum `Purple Pride', Verticordia monadelpha Turcz., Verticordia plumosa (Desf.) Druce, and Verticordia nitens (Lindl.) Schau. suffered a decline in vase life ranging from 31% to 100% after 14 to 21 days of storage. Species of Verticordia and Chamelaucium were particularly susceptible to fungal infection. Anigozanthos pulcherrimus Hook. and the Anigozanthos cultivars Ruby Delight, Bush Harmony, Bush Haze, and Gold Fever all showed a significant reduction in vase life after 14 days of storage compared with unstored controls.