Madeira Pictures - Bird of Paradise Flower
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|Bird of Paradise Flower (Strelitzia reginae)|
|Icon of the island of Madeira|
|In and around Funchal|
|Out and about|
|Close-up of sepals, petals and bloom|
|Leaves of Bird of Paradise plant|
|All Photographs © Copyright - Issued Under License - Rights Reserved|
Strelitzia reginae is a flowering plant indigenous to Cape Province and northern Natal in South Africa. In Madeira it is widely known as the Bird of Paradise flower. As you can see from the photo gallery, the reason is obvious. However, it is also known as the Crane Flower or, simply, as Strelitzia.
Queen Charlotte was an enthusiastic amateur botanist and helped establish Kew Gardens situated in Greater London, England.
The plant was brought to Britain in 1773 by Sir Joseph Banks, who named it in the Queen's honour.
The plant, which is evergreen, can grow up to 2 metres in height, although 1.3m is the usual limit to its extent. The flowers, which protrude at a right-angle at the tip of long stems, emerge singularly from a hard spike-shaped pod which is known as a spathe. The flowers, consist of three brilliant orange sepals and three purplish-blue petals. The leaves are a broad sword-like shape and again sit at the end of long stems.
If grown in a pot, you will need plenty of space to house your plant as it will grow upwards and spread. The minimum temperature in which it is kept should be no lower than 10°C. For encouraging flowering, keep it at a temperature of at least 21°C or more.
You should water thoroughly, then leave until the compost surface is dry before watering again. Water sparingly in winter. Mist occasionally. Use a balanced liquid fertiliser monthly. If not perfectly happy, the plant can go 8 or more years without flowering despite having healthy looking leaves.