fresh flower


A beautiful filler material from the land down under.

by Steven W. Brown, AIFD

Thryptomene calycina
Grampians Thryptomene, Grampians heath myrtle, Victorian laceflower

1 PRETTY FILLERS. Pronounced “THRIP-to-mee-nee,” this flowering shrub produces dense sprays of small white or pink tea-treelike flowers. The small, needlelike foliage is similar to Geraldton waxflower. It is aromatic when crushed. There are about 40 Thryptomene species. Two popular species grown for cut flower crops are:
Thryptomene calycina—Commonly known as Grampians heath myrtle, this species of white flowers with dark centers grows wild in southwest Victoria, Australia, where it is common on rocky mountainsides.
Thryptomene saxicola—This species, commonly known as rock Thryptomene, is indigenous to the Stirling and Eyre districts of Southwestern Australia. It grows among granite outcrops, and its pale pink or white flowers closely resemble waxflower.

2 IN THE LAND DOWN UNDER. Thryptomenes grow wild in the mountainous area known as the Grampians, which is one of Victoria’s major tourist destinations. Its flora is one of the most diverse in Australia. The region of commercial production is centered in Western Victoria.

3 THE MYRTLES AND THE EUCS. Thryptomene is a member of the Myrtaceae family and is closely related to myrtle, bottlebrush, Leptospermum and Eucalyptus.

4 FROM CALIFORNIA TOO. Some varieties of Thryptomene are available year-round from world markets, but supplies vary. Availability is best from about November through May from California growers and from June through September from Australian growers.

5 ON THE LOOKOUT. Purchase flowers that have at least one-third of the florets opened. If flowers are too tight, they may not open completely. Watch for signs of blossom drop, rot or mold when making selections.

6 TAKE GOOD CARE. Handle these flowers by removing the packaging and bindings immediately upon arrival. Trim the stems with a sharp knife or pruner, removing at least 1 inch from each stem. Remove all leaves that would fall below the water line. Place the stems into a clean vase or bucket with a properly prepared flower food solution made with warm water.

7 COOL AND CONDITION. Place Thryptomenes into a floral cooler at 34 F to 36 F, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours before designing with or selling them. Provide good air circulation, high humidity and light to keep these flowers looking good.

8 RECUT AND CHANGE. Recommendations for florists and consumers include recutting the stems and changing the vase water frequently as well as keeping the flowers away from direct sunlight. Thryptomenes will last for up to two weeks with proper care and conditions.

9 IN THE TOP 10. Australian floral exports account for about 1 percent of all floral exports in the world, and Australian Thrytomene is among the top 10 crops commercially grown and exported. The top 10 are:
• Waxflower (Chamelaucium spp.)
• Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos spp.)
• Thryptomene
• Stirlingia
• Protea
• Banksia
• Leucadendron
• Koala fern (Caustis spp.)
• Scholtzia
• Eucalyptus

10 TO THE GREEKS. The name Thryptomene comes from the Greek word meaning “made small,” alluding to the small size of most Thryptomene blossoms. The species name calycina refers to the prominent calyx of the flower. The species name saxicola comes from the Latin “saxum,” meaning “rock” or “boulder.”

Steven W. Brown, AIFD, is a professor and department chair of horticulture and floristry at City College of San Francisco with 26 years of consulting and educational experience in the floral industry.

Photo courtesy of:
Australian Flower Export Council

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