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Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation
Cutflower Production of Golden Cascade (01/157 DAW-76A)
by Dr K.A. Seaton
RIRDC Publication No 01/157 RIRDC Project No DAW-76A
Development of methods for introduction of new wildflowers into cultivation offers increased opportunities for marketing a regular supply of product of consistent quality.
Golden cascades (Corynanthera flava) is one such Western Australian wildflower that is predominantly bush picked with 150,000 stems sold on average annually. Corynanthera flava is a unique species indigenous to a restricted region of the mid west area of Western Australia. It is a highly sought flower valued for its long whispery racemes of small golden yellow flowers. It flowers from October to February.
Surveys of natural populations in association with the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) found that picking of Corynanthera flava from private property was considered sustainable provided that certain procedures were followed.
Licenses are issued provided CALM is satisfied that; picking was sustainable, picking removed no more than 20% of plants in a population, green stems must be left below where the plant is cut and property burns are no more frequent than every eight years.
Allowing continued controlled picking from bush stands has had a positive benefit in the conservation of this species. Natural stands have become a valuable and alternative source of income for farmers who have bush areas of Corynanthera flava on their properties.
Selections from natural populations of Corynanthera flava were made over two seasons and propagated using cutting and tissue culture methods. Response of selections to cutting propagation identified one or possibly two which gave a high strike rate (70%) compared with other selections which had poor strike rates of 0 to 30%. Tissue culture methods developed were successful in introducing seven selections selected from wild populations into culture. The research identified specific culture environment, media and hormone levels suited to the propagation of Corynanthera flava. Survival of plants following tissue culture was low,with root systems failing to become established in the nursery. Some selections were identified that were better able to survive potting on from tissue culture.
A protocol was developed for the cultivation of Corynanthera flava. Irrigation scheduling using tensiometers was found to be an effective method for managing this plant. Postharvest handling was also investigated and a selection identified with 26% longer vase life. An information package for the successful cultivation and handling of Corynanthera flava is available as a farmnote/