Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality
Produce Facts in English > Eucalyptus
Michael S. Reid
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis
Eucalyptus spp. The silvery-green leaves of the juvenile form of Eucalyptus pulverulenta are a very popular foliage item, used in fresh and dried form. A number of other species of Eucalyptus also are used as cut foliage. Eucalyptus is Greek for well and lid, referring to the sepals and petals, which are united to form a cap that is shed when the flower opens, revealing the showy colored stamens.
As with other foliage, Eucalyptus performs better in the vase if the leaves are mature. Branches are harvested so as to provide long stem lengths, but leaving growing points behind for the development of new branches. Stem tips should not be wilted at time of purchase.
Grading and Bunching
Quality foliage is bright blue-green in color, has undamaged leaves, and is uniform in length. Eucalyptus branches are sold in grower bunches by weight, usually as 1 pound bunches.
Eucalyptus branches are not sensitive to ethylene, but if the foliage is poorly handled, is warm, and water-stressed, it can produce concentrations of ethylene that could damage ethylene-sensitive flowers that have not been treated with 1-MCP or STS.
No pretreatments are required.
Eucalyptus foliage should be stored at 0-1°C.
Eucalyptus is normally packed in horizontal fiberboard boxes without additional packing materials.
Handle this species with gloves to prevent hands from becoming sticky. Eucalyptuses are native to areas like Australia and Tasmania but over 200 species have been introduced elsewhere. As a result, this species predominates in certain woodlands in California. Many florists believe eucalyptus gives off a lot of ethylene because of its strong fragrance. In fact, most species and cultivars do not produce excessive amounts of ethylene gas, although some will produce potentially detrimental quantities of ethylene if they become water stressed. Hence, make sure this species is properly hydrated. Eucalyptus can be treated with various colored glycerin-based solutions, which result in preserved specimens. Australian and Israeli researchers are investigating the possible use of Eucalyptus as flowering branches, and we may expect to see this interesting item increasing in the trade in the future.
First published on this website: October 2004