False Bird of Paradise

The Heliconiaceae family of plants is characterised by a large variety of astonishingly beautiful flowers of improbable shapes. The False Bird of Paradise (Heliconia psittacorum) is no exception. Also known as Parakeet Flower, Parrot’s Beak or Parrot’s Flower, this popular perennial originating from Central and South America provides a striking combination of colours – from its lovely pink bracts to strong orange-coloured flowers with dark green spots and white tips. It is widely cultivated in many parts of the tropics, often as hybrids or in colour varieties that differ considerably from the “original”, but still remain highly impressive.… Continue reading

Heliconia Rostrata

Every time I look at a Heliconia rostrata flower, commonly referred to as “hanging lobster claw”, I am instantly reminded of how wonderfully creative Mother Nature really is. Originating from western South America (it is the national flower of Bolivia), this long-lasting flower goes through many phases of life during which it transforms itself from a promising reddish tint on top of the plant’s stem into this majestic attention-drawing marvel. Unlike many other heliconias, which flower throughout the year or several times each year, the rostrata species only bloom once a year, usually in May in this part of the… Continue reading