By: Kate Penn, Floral Management
do I do with that?" is the most common response a leucadendron
evokes from an unknowing designer, (L.Salignum) Granted, this
most prolific member of the Protea family does not complement
lisianthus and sweet peas and other more delicate flowers, but
designers who swear by it say it's one of the most versatile
and cost-effective flowers in their mix. "It's a filler flower,
a focal flower and a line flower all in one," says David Strong,
AIFD, of Piano Flowers and Gifts in Memphis, Tenn. Strong has
been using leucadendron for about ten years, mainly in his commercial
and high-end work, "It's not for the meat and potatoes market,
but it's great if you're trying to go after the higher-end market
or just make yourself stand out," he says.
other favorite features: It's phototropic, which means you get those
"fabulous twisty stems that are great in vegetative designs," says
Ren'e van Rems, AIFD, of the California Cut Flower Commission. It
can be a very tall stem, so it's great as a line flower. It boasts
a great shelf life three weeks in a 40'F cooler (no lower than 35'F)
and 10 days to two weeks in a vase - and it's available year-round.
If you're a leucadendron rookie, the fall and holiday season is
a good time to give them a try. Here's an overview of some of the
more widely available species.
spring nears, you can look forward to bright yellow and gold
leucadendron to add some spark to your offerings. Look for:
L. Laureolum or yellow tulip (photo) - both the male and female
are very showy with bright yellow bracts and soft green foliage.
Galpinii has skinny, twisted grayish green leaves and a fuzzy
silver ball on it. L. Linifolium has skinny, pinkish little
leaves and a marble-sized silver cone. Another vertical, pine-like
species is the female L. Teretifolium.
and Silvery Fillers
who know and love leucadendron call them the "sleeping giant
of filler flowers" - and it's no wonder. You can take your
pick from spiny, vertical species to the loose, feathery ones.
a great alternative to traditional holiday foliage, since it
has a nice, strong line. Here are some of the most widely available:
L. Argenteum or Silver Tree (photo) the male plant features
a large, golf ball-sized silver cone surrounded by soft, feathery
silver foliage. L. Uliginosum or mini silver leaf is a great
high-style filler, with its ivory to yellow brackets and silver-haired
small leaves. L. Pisa is a new hybrid with yellow leaves and
a silver center.
female cone is greenish-pink and the male cone is bright yellow.
Male L. discolor or flame tips (photo) has bright yellow bracts
with a large bright red male flower. L. Salignum has the widest
distribution of all leucadendron. The male bracts are usually
red or yellow, while the female's are soft ivory, with a light
touch of red.
article was previously published in Floral Management, September