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Description / Shipment / Storage / Risk factors
Scientific Name and Introduction
Matthiola incana. A very traditional field flower with spikes of aromatic flowers in a wide range of colours, stock continues to be a staple floristry item. Somewhat sensitive to ethylene and prone to bacterial contamination of the vase solution, stock flowers respond to proper postharvest care. The specific epithet incana means hoary (hairy) in reference to the plant’s whitish fuzz or hair.
Quality Characteristics and Criteria
Stock should be harvested with no fewer than six open florets on each spike. To increase stem length growers may pull the plants from the ground and remove the roots later. Flowers harvested and sold with at least six flowers open per stem generally perform better than ones harvested and sold with less open flowers. Avoid spikes with bruised, brown or infected florets and/or yellowed leaves.
Grading and Bunching
Quality stock have long straight spikes of uniform unblemished flowers and free of defects.
Exposure to ethylene results in water soaking of the petals, accelerated senescence of the florets, and epinasty (downward curvature) of the leaves.
To prevent deleterious effects of ethylene, stock should be pretreated with 1-MCP or STS.
Stock should be stored at 0°C to 1ºC.
Stock are frequently packed in hampers or aquapacks, but may also be packed in horizontal fibreboard boxes.
Water uptake can be reduced in flowers harvested with the roots. Use a preservative solution to keep the growth of micro-organisms in check. As with baby’s-breath and Marguerite daisy, the vase and bucket solutions can develop a very unpleasant smell if the correct amount and type of preservative solution is not used and if buckets are not properly sanitized.
BMT De Beer’s Consolidated Manual on (Dutch) Flower Bulbs, cut flowers/greens and potted plants