University of California

Ornamentals English

Delphinium

Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality

delphinium026
Michael S. Reid

Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis

Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality

Description

Delphinium, Consolida spp. The tall spikes of delphinium and the smaller spikes of larkspur are important accent flowers, with colors ranging from white through pink, purple and blue.

Quality Indices

Delphiniums and larkspur are normally harvested with one to two open flowers on the spike. Avoid flowers with mildew-infected leaves. At least one to two flowers per stem should be fully opened at the time of purchase with no sign of flower fall. Make sure stems are rinsed prior to re-cutting and arranging, so as to remove dirt and debris.

Grading and Bunching

There are no formal grade standards for larkspur and delphinium. Flower number per spike, stem length, stem straightness, and foliage quality are important quality attributes in these flowers. Larkspurs are normally bunched by size with an average of 10 stems per bunch.

Ethylene Sensitivity

Delphiniums are very sensitive to ethylene, which causes rapid loss of all the flowers on the spike.

Pretreatments

Flower spikes should be pretreated with 1-MCP or STS to extend their vase life and protect them from exposure to ethylene. Because flowers are on spikes and are therefore at different maturity stages at the time of anti-ethylene treatment, STS may be a more effective anti-ethylene treatment than 1-MCP.

Storage Conditions

Delphinium and larkspur should be stored at 0-1°C. For longer term storage, they should be wrapped in perforated polyethylene to reduce water loss.

Packing

These flowers are often packed in hampers with or without water, but may also be packed in standard horizontal boxes. They are somewhat sensitive to gravity, so horizontally-packed flowers should be pre-cooled and maintained at proper holding temperatures.

Special Considerations

Flowers called larkspur or delphinium often are named incorrectly.

Date

October 2004

Use of Materials

The UC Postharvest Technology Center grants users permission to download textual pages (including PDF files) from this World Wide Web site for personal use or to reproduce them for educational purposes, but credit lines and copyright notices within the pages must not be removed or modified.

Except for these specified uses, no part of the textual materials available on the UC Postharvest Technology Center Web site may be copied, downloaded, stored in a retrieval system, further transmitted or otherwise reproduced, stored, disseminated, transferred or used, in any form or by any means, except as permitted herein or with the University of California's prior written agreement. Request permission from UC Postharvest Technology Center. Distribution for commercial purposes is prohibited.

Links to any of these UC Postharvest Technology Center pages are permitted, but no endorsement of the linking site or products mentioned in the linking page is intended or implied by such a link.

How to Cite

Author(s) names. Initial publication or update date (located at the top). Title. Link to the specific Produce Fact Sheet webpage (Accessed date)

Example: Cantwell, M. and T. Suslow. 2002. Lettuce, Crisphead: Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality. 

http://ucanr.edu/sites/Postharvest_Technology_Center_/Commodity_Resources/Fact_Sheets/Datastores/Vegetables_English/?uid=19&ds=799 (Accessed January 18, 2014).

College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
Postharvest Technology Center
Department of Plant Sciences

Legal notices | Comments & Questions: postharvest@ucdavis.edu | Website Editor: Marita CantwellUC Davis

Webmaster Email: postharvest@ucdavis.edu