Strelitzia reginae

Bird of Paradise Flower, Crane Plant . The South African genus Strelitzia has only four species. Only one is commonly grown as a house plant, although the others may very occasionally be encountered in a heated greenhouse. The flowers are reminiscent of an exotic bird. Both their colour and their shape are unusual. A sharply pointed, shuttle-like organ, consisting of fused bracts, grows sideways from the end of the thick stem. From these emerge the showy flowers with orange outer seg ments and blue inner segments. The long-stalked leaves and the flower stems are 1-2 m (39-79 in) long. The plant bears a strong similarity to a banana tree, to which it is, in fact, related.

It requires very nourishing compost and a large container; plant in open ground in a greenhouse. Maintain a high temperature and high humidity in summer; water liberally. It requires cool conditions in winter. The flowers will last a remarkably long time in a vase.

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