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Strelitzia reginae Bird of paradise   Musaceae

Strelitzia reginae, Bird of paradise


Strelitzia reginae, Bird of paradise	Strelitzia reginae is indigenous to South Africa. Common names include Strelitzia, Crane Flower or Bird of Paradise.
The plant grows to 2 m tall, with large, strong leaves 25-70 cm long and 10-30 cm broad, produced on petioles up to 1 m long. The leaves are evergreen and arranged in two ranks, making a fan-shaped crown. The flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks. The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges is termed the spathe. This is placed perpendicular to the stem, which gives it the appearance of a bird's head and beak; it makes a durable perch for holding the sunbirds which pollinate the flowers. The flowers, which emerge one at a time from the spathe, consist of three brilliant orange sepals and three purplish-blue petals. Two of the blue petals are joined together to form an arrow-like nectary. When the sunbirds sit to drink the nectar, the petals open to cover their feet in pollen.
It is propagated by division or from seeds, and is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow in the garden; it is fairly tolerant of soil conditions and needs little water once established. If cared for well, they will flower several times in a year. They do well in full sun to semi-shade
Patience is required when growing this plant as it is slow-growing and may take a while to bloom. To get a mature plant from seed takes three to five years There is also a yellow cultivar of this flower known as Mandela's gold strelitzia