The feather flowers used as cut flowers all come from the south-west of WA. All have small (1 to 2 cm), round flowers with 5 petals that have highly fringed outer petals – giving them a feathery appearance. Flowers are grouped up a branch with a few leaves often poking out the top. The lowest flowers on a branch open first.
V. grandis is the most spectacular Verticordia with large, deep red flowers up to 25 mm in diameter and small rounded leaves that clasp the stem. Flowers are borne in groups of 10 to 20 and when open the long styles stick out prominently from the centre of the flower. V. nitens is probably the most common Verticordia used as a cut flower. It forms large domed masses of small yellow-orange flowers, with so many flowers that foliage is often completely hidden. Stems are pale brown and woody. Pink-purple Verticordias are usually V. plumosa with dozens of pale purple flowers forming a ‘plume’ at the top of each branch, or V. monadelpha, which has fewer flowers scattered up each branch.
Verticordias have traditionally been picked from the wild, but many are now supplied from plantations. Most supplies come from WA.
Types: Verticordia nitens (yellow), V. grandis (red), V. monadelpha (pink/purple).
What to look for
- Buy bunches with fresh leaves, as these dry out and drop before the flowers;
- Avoid bunches with ‘spider-webs’ caused by the fungal mould Botrytis.
- Keep cool at all times.
- Strip leaves from the lower half of each stem, and wash stem ends under the tap.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each stem and place in water immediately.
- Do not bash or split stems.
- Always use a preservative as this will help buds to open.
- Replace vase water with fresh preservative every day.
- Verticordias are very sensitive to ethylene. Keep them away from fruit, car exhausts and cigarette smoke.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
The name Verticordia comes from the Latin words ‘vertere’, to turn and ‘cordatus’, of good heart. It is a reference to the ancient Roman goddess Venus, who was regarded as the goddess of beauty and love and considered to have had the power to bewitch, enslave and turn the hearts of her suitors. Her sacred flower was the Myrtus, or Myrtle, which belongs to the family Myrtaceae, as does Verticordia.
Botanical Name: Verticordia nitens (yellow), V. grandis (red),V. monadelpha (pink/purple)
Common Names: Feather Flowers, Yellow Morrison (V. nitens)
Stem Length: 30 to 60 cm
Country of Origin: Australia: WA
Available Colours: Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Yellow