Saturday, July 21, 2018

In the Field: Brunia Albiflora

Whenever this beautiful botanical is seen, it is often greeted with surprise as if it has never been seen before. The mysterious, almost alien looking Brunia albiflora or also called Coffee Bush after it's coffee scented flowers is a summer favorite. Albiflora has long leafy branches with beautiful dark green foliage that resembles a pine tree, but is much, much softer. The flowers or ‘bobbles’ are crowded into tight spherical knob-like inflorescences that are clustered into flat, rounded heads in a deep green hue touched with silver. The flower-heads are very striking, and branches are mostly sold with the flower-heads still in bud.

However, in late summer the flowers start to open in a ring, starting on the outside of the bobble and working inwards. Each tiny flower is about ¼” long, white with yellow stamens sticking out, giving the inflorescence a yellowish tinge.

Whether in a bud stage or flowering, Brunia Albilfora adds a unique and long-lasting touch and texture to any floral arrangement or bouquet.

What to look for

  • If possible, buy before the flowers are open as branches with cones last longer than open flowers; 
  • Leaves should have a glossy green appearance; 
  • Avoid bunches with flowers showing brown marks.

Flower Care

  1. Keep cool. 
  2. Strip leaves from the lower half of each stem. 
  3. Recut at least ½” off each branch and place in water. 
  4. Don’t use a preservative as this may open the flower-buds. 
  5. Add a half cap of bleach to the vase. 
  6. Replace vase water with fresh water every 2 days.

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