Thursday, 18 September 2014


Strelitzia reginae is a monocotyledonous flowering plant indigenous to South Africa. Common names include Strelitzia, Crane Flower or Bird of Paradise, though these names are also collectively applied to other species in the genus Strelitzia. Its scientific name commemorates Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen consort of the United Kingdom, wife of H.M. King George III.

The species is native to South Africa but naturalised in Mexico, Belize, Bangladesh, Madeira Islands and Juan Fernández Islands off the coast of Chile. 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.

The seeds develop in quantity in each of the flowers and one may easily grow the plant from seed, at any time of year. Before sowing, remove the bright orange tuft of hairs attached to the seed (aril of each seed), the hard seeds can then be scarified (nicked or scratched) to decrease germination time. To scarify, soak the seeds in lukewarm water for several hours, and then nick them with a knife or small file. Scarified seeds will germinate in two to three months. Another way to decrease germination time is to put un-scarified seeds in a plastic bag and place them in a refrigerator at 4°C for two weeks. Then scarify and sow them.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


  1. I've seen the flowers, but I've never seen the seeds. They're very interesting.

  2. Great photo's! I never thought of taking photo's of the seeds!!

  3. Have seen the strelitzia on the Canary Islands but not the seed. Have a nice weekend.

  4. Nick, You are making me anxious for my next trip to Maui. Tom The Backroads Traveller

  5. This is very educational. I have seen the flowers, but have never seen the seeds. I think this flower is beautiful. Unfortunately, they can't survive our winter here in Virginia.


I love to hear from you, so please comment. I appreciate constructive criticism as it improves my skills as an amateur photographer.