A rapid and specific method for the separation of cyclic sugar alcohols by anion exchange HPLC and subsequent detection by pulsed amperometry is presented. The cyclitols include the inositols and O-methyl inositols. Although examples use plant extracts the method has general application and is suitable for detecting as little as 10 pmol of substance. Carbohydrates are weak acids with pKa values typically above 12. While separation of most monosaccharides on high-performance anion exchange columns in aqueous NaOH is adequate, the ionization of inositols and O-methyl inositols is weak and their separation is poor. Use of a high-capacity anion exchange column separated the inositols well but the more ionized sugars were tightly retained. Automatic switching of the inositol fraction eluting from the lower-capacity column onto the high-capacity column with subsequent detection by pulsed amperometry gave specific and rapid separations of the inositols with a turnaround time of 16 min. As an example of application, we chose the separation and identification of cyclic and acyclic sugar alcohols in flower petals from a variety of plants. There was an apparent correlation between the postharvest longevity of flowers and the content of inositols, particularly D-pinitol.