Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) - The meaning of flowers
Native to South Africa, the bird of paradise is a large tropical herb. The scientific name is Strelitzia Reginae.
The Bird of Paradise flower is a spectacular blossom. Long stemmed flowers emerge from green boat-shaped bracts which are bordered in red or purple. The numerous pointed petals of brilliant orange are contrasted with an arrow-shaped tongue of vivid blue. Some species have white and blue. The flowers have several "sets" of flowers in each bract which are formed on the end of a stalk. They are produced in a horizontal inflorescence emerging from a stout spathe.
The leaves are large, 30-200 cm long and 10-80 cm broad, similar to a banana leaf in appearance but with a longer petiole, and arranged strictly in two ranks to form a fan-like crown of evergreen foliage.
The plant itself can reach up to 5 feet in height with a 2-3 foot spread. The plant is trunk less, compact and clustering but slow growing with fleshy roots. It has banana shaped stiff-leathery, concave, oblong; bluish-gray leaves with a pale or red midrib. The leaves are attached to a long stalk that sometimes reaches up to 2 feet in length
The Bird of Paradise should be fertilised with a good liquid plant food and it needs several applications of blood meal and bone meal in early and late summer. Bird of Paradise responds especially well to pruning. Do not over water the Bird of Paradise. It fares better if the roots can dry out somewhat between watering. Bird of Paradise may be propagated via rhizome division.
Did you know?
* The species S. Nicolai is the largest in this plants genus, reaching 10 m tall.
* The name Bird of Paradise comes from the spectacular flower shape which resembles a birds beak and head plumage.