After Dr Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese, a German physician.
Although available all year their peak period is spring.
South Africa, first imported to Europe at the end of the 19th century.
Wide range including yellows, red, pinks and white.
One of the nicest varieties is "Ballerina", which look like elegant dancers.
Freesia belong to the Iridaceae family, including iris.
Buy them with at least one flower open on the stem. Make sure they have plenty of water and never let the stem ends dry out. Pinch out the topmost buds and remove the old flowerheads to encourage new ones to open. Keep away from fruit, vegetables, and excess heat, as they are very sensitive to the ethylene gas produced.
Freesias are among the most popular and widely grown cut flowers in the world, with over 110 million stems sold in the UK each year. In a recent F&PA survey over half the respondents rated them as one of their favourite flowers, yet it was relatively unknown until the 1950’s.
Unlike most other flowers, where the white forms smell most strongly, if you want highly scented freesia look for pink and red varieties.