The genus Strelitzia contains
five species from southern Africa. This species
is the best known and most widely cultivated..It is best known for its showy
flowers. Large orange and blue flowers emerge upright from a heavy reddish
green bract. Two blue petals are fused together and folded over the flower’s
reproductive structures. When these petals are pressed down, the anther with sticky
pollen emerges from the fold. Bird of paradise produces relatively few seeds in
nature. Early reports stated that sunbirds pollinated these flowers and this is
widely repeated in literature. More recently, some scientists have theorized that
the natural pollinator may be an extinct mammal.
See this plant at University Center.
A herbaceous perennial with leaves to three to five feet tall and flower spikes that are held above the foliage.
Light: sun to part sun
Water: drought tolerant when established
Soil: average soil, wide pH tolerance
In north Florida,
it has survived temperatures in the upper teens F. Temperatures in the low to
mid-20’s will kill it to the ground and it will resprout in spring. Bird of
paradise does not bloom reliably in north Florida unless it is protected overwinter.
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