Common Names: Leptospermum, Tea Tree, Lepto, Pin Cushion Flower

Botanical names: Leptospermum, (lep-tow-SPUR-mum)

Availability: December through May

Vase life: 7 to 10 days

Storage temperatures: 36 - 38 degrees Fahrenheit

Ethylene Sensitive: Yes

Description: Clusters of small, double blossoms on woody stems with short, soft, needlelike, leaves.

Color: Orange, pink, red and white

Botanical facts: The name is from the Greek words leptos (slender) and sperma (seed), a reference to the slender seeds of the plant. The crew of Captain Cook’s ship drank a tea made from Leptospermum leaves to ward off scurvy during long voyages, hence the common name “tea tree”.

Design notes: Smaller stems work well as a filler. Longer stems add line to arrangements. Commonly used in contemporary and Asian styled design.

Purchasing hints: Purchase branches with all buds fully colored and 50% just beginning to open. Avoid branches with mildew.

Conditioning: Remove all foliage that will be below the water line. Cut stem ends with a sharp knife. Hydrate in a solution of water and commercial floral food for two hours before storage or usage. Do not pack branches tightly in storage. Air circulation is needed to prevent mildew and brown spots.

Additional notes: Branches with fully opened flowers are difficult to work with as the flowers shatter easily.