Consumer preference and postharvest life of field-grown, fresh-cut sunflowers

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Title: Consumer preference and postharvest life of field-grown, fresh-cut sunflowers
Author: Howard, Kara
Abstract: There is a developing market for field -grown cut flowers in Texas . The overall goal of this study was to produce a field -grown cut flower crop in Lubbock , Texas to be marketed locally . A survey of Lubbock , Texas florists revealed sunflowers (Helianthus annuus L . ) were favored by most . Sunflower is a crop grown on 21 ,853 hectares in Texas harvested for either seed or oil . Since agronomic cultivars were already in production in our area , they were included in this study to evaluate their marketability as a cut flower . Eight agronomic and eight ornamental sunflower cultivars were grown in a variety trial in the summer of 2006 in a completely randomized block design . To learn which cultivars consumers preferred , a study was conducted where stems were harvested and photographed when inflorescences were at "partly open" and "fully open" stages . Local florists and Texas Tech University students participated in an online Sunflower Cultivar Survey which included the sunflower images , where florists were asked if they would use the cultivar for sale , and students if they would buy the cultivar . Demographic data was collected from each group . Mean ratings of responses were determined for each cultivar . Both groups gave high ratings to agronomic and ornamental cultivars . Florists responded they would sell agronomic cultivars and students responded they would buy an agronomic cultivar . Days to flowering of a cultivar is important for a grower to consider when planning sowing dates , since some sunflower cultivars may be more marketable in a specific season . The actual days to flowering in the field did not correspond with the days to flowering provided by the seed companies for some cultivars . In a second study , postharvest life of stems harvested from the field -grown sunflowers was investigated . Inflorescences were harvested when ray florets were open 45° . Stems were kept in double distilled (DD ) water or floral preservative in a factorial arrangement of treatments . Ten days is the floral industry standard for the postharvest life of cut flowers . Most sunflower cultivars in this study met or exceeded the 10 -day mark regardless if kept in DD water or floral preservative . Some cultivars demonstrated a significantly longer postharvest life when kept in floral preservative than when kept in DD water . Significant differences in postharvest life occurred between cultivars .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /13790
Date: 2007-05

Citation

Consumer preference and postharvest life of field-grown, fresh-cut sunflowers. Master's thesis, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /13790 .

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