By Sabine Green AIFD, CFD
Brunia Berry, one of the Many Shades of Bohemian Grey.
I don’t think I have had a wedding consult in over a year that didn’t include either a bohemian theme, or a shade of grey or silver as part of the color palette. As the wedding season approaches, we continue to see the greys, silvers, and charcoals, as well as the relaxed “bohem” feel that still seems so incredibly popular. A plant that will be sticking around as a popular item in wedding work is Brunia berry.
Not to be confused with Berzilia berry, Brunia has a
uniquely silver parlor that makes it great for the more
subdued color palettes being chosen by brides lately. The “berry” part that you see is actually the blooms that have gone through senescence, and all the reproductive parts and petals have aged and fallen off. It’s these fruiting structures that have become so popular as a textural accent in the floral industry. Their stems are about 18 inches tall, and woody in nature with a very rigid, upright format, but a great relaxed branching effect that makes it a pleasure to work with. From bouquets to boutonnieres, centerpieces to cake flowers, this is a product that is bound to stay around as it’s easy to work with.
The South African Journal of Botany lists six different species of Brunia that have potential within the floriculture industry, a plus for the South African economy and exporting industry. The sheer amount of flora diversity in South Africa (over 24,000 taxa) have made this area of Africa a favorite for floral explorers in search of new products to freshen up the industry. Brunia may likely join the ranks of the gerbera, sterilize (Bird of Paradise), freesia and gladiolus as a South African native that has become an industry favorite.
Brunia nodiflora is the scientific name of the most common species we see in the industry today. A native to South Africa, production of this product for commercial sale is largely in Australia, New Zealand, and California. Common names include Brunia, Brunia balls, Silver Brunia, Silver balls, and Grey Brunia.
Vase life of this little grey berry is minimally
one week. Yet, once they dry right there in
your cooler, they remain attractive and virtually unchanged from the fresh form. In fact, preserved Brunia is becoming more and more popular as it is available year-round. Care and handling include a quick dip for hydration, and keeping the water clean and fresh in the storage buckets. Brunia is already a fruiting structure, so ethylene sensitivity is likely minimal. As a new crop, research on physiology is ongoing, with very little published currently.
Even though we are surging into “greenery” for the new color palette, the grey and silvers will stay. Enjoy the ease of working in neutrals, and the pleasure of working with new products. Keep the adventure in “flowering” on the rise, and embrace the trends as they move through your area.
Christina Burton-Fox AIFD floral artist & instructor