Shellflower


2 entries found.
Shellflower
Common Name: Shellflower, Turtlehead, Snakehead
Botanical Name: Chelone spp. (ke-LO-ne)
Decorative Life: 6-11 days.
Family Roots:
  • As a member of the Scrophulariaceae (figwort family), some of its common relatives include Calceolaria, Veronica, mullein, Penstemon, foxglove, snapdragon, Nemesia and monkey-flower.
  • Some 6 species of herbaceous perennials most commonly found growing wild in swamp and marsh areas.
  • Native to North America.
Personality:
  • Flowers spike-like, on strong, upright stems. While they generally grow better in wet, swamp-like conditions, they will survive but not thrive on dry soils.
Availability: Mostly summer.
Flower Color: White, cream, lilac and red.
Tidbits:
  • From the Greek "chelone" for tortoise because the flower is said to look like the head of reptiles. Hence, it has the common names of snakehead and turtlehead.
  • Seeds are sometimes dried and used for winter arrangements.
Shellflower
Common Name: Ginger, Shell Ginger, Shellflower
Botanical Name: Alpinia spp. (al-PIN-ee-a)
Decorative Life: 7-21 days or more.
Post Harvest Care:
  • Recut stems under water and place in plain tap water containing regular household bleach at 20 drops (1/4 teaspoon) per quart or in an acid-based hydration solution, the latter being preferred.
  • Submerging flower heads upside down in room temperature water for about 30 minutes to help hydrate and extend vaselife is not a proven practice but is often recommended.
Harvest Instructions: Should be harvested when the inflorescence is about two-thirds open or more. Namely, delay harvesting stems as long as possible as increased stem length means longer vaselife. Hot water dips are used to control insects just prior to shipment. The best procedure is to dip them for 15 minutes at 104F followed within one hour with at 12-15 minute dip at 122F. This dip sequence actually increases subsequent vaselife by about 130%. See Chantrachit and Paull (1998) for more details. However, other researchers (Hara et al., 1996) state that a 2 hour hot air (102F) conditioning treatment prior to a 12-15 minute 120F hot water dip is better since damages that can be caused by the hot water dip alone can be avoided.
Family Roots:
  • Member of the Zingiberaceae (ginger family).
  • Native of Indo-Malaysia.
  • Related species include ginger (spice) and ginger lily (Curcuma).
Personality:
  • Flower head 8-10 inches long, made up of thick, shiny bracts at stem end.
  • Stems thick, up to 3 feet long.
  • Species is a herbaceous perennial from rhizomes and is classed as a monocotyledon, leaves mostly parallel veined.
  • Flowers (bracts) are not fragrant.
Availability: Year-round.
Flower Color: Red or pink bracts.
Storage Specifics: Chill sensitive, store above 55 F, up to 65 degrees F. Also, store upright to prevent bending (geotropic) problems.
Tidbits:
  • A great number of gingers have been introduced into Hawaii, mostly from Indo-Malaysia. The red ginger is a native of Polynesia and is the most popular export variety. Edible ginger root, tumeric, and cardamom are some of the approximately 1350 species in the Zingiberaceae. Instead of a regular root system, gingers like heliconias spread and propagate by fat, knobby, ground level stems called rhizomes.
  • Named after Prosper Alpino who was an Italian botanist, 1553-1616.
Recent Findings: Leonhardt (2004) showed that a 12 minute dip into 120F water increased vaselife from 26 days for the no dipped controls to 41 days.