Strelitzia reginae – Bird of Paradise, Crane flower.
The grey-green banana like leaves grow about 1,5 m in height and the
flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks. Mature
plants are very floriferous with blooming time in autumn, winter and
spring. The structure and pollination of the flowers are rather
interesting. The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges,
is called the spathe. This is placed at right angles to the stem, which
gives it the appearance of a bird’s head. The flowers, which emerge one
at a time from the spathe, consist of 3 brilliant orange sepals and 3
bright blue petals. Two of the blue petals are joined together to form
an arrow-like depository of nectar. When the birds sit to have a drink
of nectar, the petals open and cover their feet in pollen.
Native to: South Africa
Flowering: Spring and Summer
Watering: Keep the soil moist during dry weather but dry during Winter
Planting Aspect: Full sun to part shade