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Strelitzia reginae

Strelitzia reginae Aiton

 

Bird of Paradise, Bird-of-paradise, Crane Flower

ParentsUnknownGenus is not in the current taxonomy
GenusStrelitziaAfter Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818) who married King George III in 1761
SpeciesreginaeOf the queen

About plant names...

These beautiful but bizarre plants are native to South Africa, from Cape Province to KwaZulu-Natal. They are not found in the wild in North America. It was introduced to central and tropical South America, where it is cultivated as a popular garden plant. There is a reason for the strange shape. Bird-of-paradise is pollinated by birds, which land on the spathe and flower. This causes the stamens to protrude and paint pollen on the birds.

Identification: Plants are 3-6½' (1-2 m) tall, stemless, forming clumps. Leaves are oblong or lanceolate, 9-30" (22-75 cm) × 1¾-6" (5-15 cm), bluish- or grayish-green, leathery, arranged in fan-like groups. They appear on long petioles up to 3' (1 m) in length. Flowerheads are on erect stocks above the leaves, with a horizontal bract up to 9" (22 cm) long that looks like a crane’s bill. Several orange flowers open one at a time from May to December; flowers are 3½-6" (9-15 cm) across. In addition to the orange portion there are a set of inner fused petals that are deep blue in color. They fuse into a sharp point, a nectar dispenser. Seeds are round, black to brown, with a little yellow tuft of hairs. The overall effect is unmistakable: that of a bird’s head and beak.

Online References:

Strelitzia reginae on the South African National Biodiversity Institute's web site, plantzafrica.com

Strelitzia reginae at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Strelitzia reginae at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Strelitzia reginae on Wikipedia

References:

Fayaz, Ahmed, Encyclopedia of Tropical Plants: Identification and Cultivation of Over 3000 Tropical Plants, Firefly Books, 2011, p. 307

Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise, Bird-of-paradise, Crane Flower)

2/26/2010 · Bob & Celeste’s, Carlsbad, CA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.5 cm)

Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise, Bird-of-paradise, Crane Flower)

8/31/2013 · Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA
≈ 15 × 10" (37 × 25 cm)

Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise, Bird-of-paradise, Crane Flower)

8/31/2013 · Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 21 cm)

Strelitzia reginae description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.

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Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise, Bird-of-paradise, Crane Flower)

2/24/2010 · Bob & Celeste’s, Carlsbad, CA
≈ 13 × 9" (33 × 22 cm)

Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise, Bird-of-paradise, Crane Flower)

2/24/2010 · San Diego (Quail) Botanic Garden, Encinitas, CA

Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise, Bird-of-paradise, Crane Flower)

2/26/2010 · Bob & Celeste’s, Carlsbad, CA
≈ 18 × 12" (45 × 30 cm)

Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise, Bird-of-paradise, Crane Flower)

8/31/2013 · Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA
≈ 19 × 12" (47 × 31 cm)

Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise, Bird-of-paradise, Crane Flower)

2/24/2010 · Bob & Celeste’s, Carlsbad, CA

Range: Zones 10-12:

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