The Crane Flower: An Unusual Bird of Paradise

Bird of paradisePhoto: Mila Zinkova

The striking images you are seeing here depict the beautiful flower “Bird of Paradise” (Strelitzia reginae). Closely related to bananas, the Bird of Paradise is a native of South Africa. This unusual plant also has another beautiful name, namely “crane flower” as it resembles a brightly colored crane in flight.

Paradise BirdPhoto: Raul654

As you can see, the leaves of this plant form a fan-shaped structure. The hard beak-like sheath, perpendicular to the stem, is called spathe. The beautiful flower seems to emerge from the spathe like a bird’s head.

Paradise BirdPhoto: Plane777

A low maintenance plant that could grow up to 6 ft tall, the crane flower needs very little water, especially in the winter when the soil is fairly dry. This monocotyledonous flowering plant has very thick roots, making it very tough. However, it takes almost seven years to grow a plant from seed and for it to produce its first bloom!

Bird of ParadisePhoto: Dirk van der Made

Also classified as an ornamental plant, the Bird of Paradise forms an attractive landscape. The thick green leaves of this plant do not drop, making it suitable for being grown in the garden or the poolside. The plant can produce about three dozen flower spikes a year. These flowers last long once they appear and remain beautiful for up to two weeks even when cut.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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