Lacy and blue from the land down under.
by Steven W. Brown, AIFD
Trachymene, syn. Didiscus
Blue lace flower
1 PRETTY FILLER. Pronounced “tray-ki-MEE-nee,”
this annual cut flower crop is best grown in greenhouses. The plant
typically grows upright, from 1 foot to 1.5 feet tall. Its fuzzy,
branching stems have finely divided leaves and flowers that form at stem
ends as lacy umbels, up to 3 inches across. The blossoms can have a
2 THE LAND DOWN UNDER. This plant is
native to Australia, where it grows wild in coastal areas, open forests
and sheltered woodlands. Trachymene easily acclimates to other regions
and is commercially grown in many areas of the world.
3 FAMILY ROOTS. Trachymene is a
member of the Umbelliferae family. This family contains many familiar
cut flower, food and condiment crops, like sea holly (Eryngium), carrots
(Daucus), parsnips (Pastinaca), celery (Apium), parsley (Petroselinum),
anise (Pimpinella), caraway (Carum), dill (Anethum) and many others.
Trachymenes closely resemble some species of Scabiosas, but the two
flowers are not related.
4 COLOR CHOICES. Trachymene is most
known for its azure blue flowers; however, look for varieties of
lavender, pink and white, too.
5 A SUMMER CROP. Trachymene plants
flower naturally in July and August, so that is when they are in best
supply. Domestic greenhouse crops can be available from March through
November. These blossoms also are available from world markets. Check
with your wholesale supplier for availability.
6 EXAMINATION TIME. Before buying
Trachymenes, carefully examine the bunches to make sure there are no
signs of shedding florets or rot or mold on the flowers or stems.
Purchase bunches that have at least one-third of the florets open. If
the flowers are too tight, they may not open completely.
7 HANDLE WITH LOVE. Carefully remove
packaging and bindings immediately upon arrival. Trim the stems with a
sharp knife or pruner, removing at least 1 inch from the ends of the
stems. Remove all leaves that would fall below the water line. Dip or
place the stems into a hydration solution, then place them into a clean
vase or bucket with a properly prepared flower food solution.
8 HYDRATE AND CUT. Allow
Tra-chymenes to take up water for at least two hours in a floral cooler
at 34 F to 36 F before designing with or selling them. This “hardening”
process will help them last longer. Recut the stems and change the vase
water frequently. Trachymenes can last as long as 10 days in vase
arrangements if handled properly.
9 FLORAL FUN. Trachymenes are an
excellent filler material for many styles of floral designs, especially
hand-tied bouquets. Their lacy appearance lends well to grouping in
vegetative arrangements and layering in waterfall designs.
10 THE GREEKS NAMED IT. The name is
composed from the Greek words “trachys,” meaning “rough,” and “meninx”
for “membrane,” referring to the fruit texture.
Some information provided by Roy Borodkin of Brannan Street
Wholesale Florist, Inc., San Francisco Flower Market.
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.
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