Strelitzia is a genus of five species in the family Strelitziaceae, native to southern Africa.
With its vibrant blooms and shape that resembles the head of an exotic bird, Strelitzia is one of the most unusual looking flowers. It produces long-stalked leaves with striking, unique and colorful flowers that makes it look alive, like a brightly colored bird. Strelitzia is one of the most popular tropical flowers that performs well in bouquets and arrangements, adding an often needed tropical flair.
The genus name was given in honor of Queen Charlotte (1744 – 1818), wife of George III, who was a princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Duchess.
The plant is also known as the “Bird of Paradise”, because it looks like a beautiful bird with a crown of feathers.
The common name “Crane Flower” refers to the shape of the flower.
Strelitzia is a symbol of thoughtfulness, joy and beauty.
It also represents freedom and immortality.
Interesting facts about Strelitzia:
Strelitzia is closely related to the banana plant (Musa) and its foliage resembles small banana leaves. Strelitzia nicolai is commonly known as the Wild Banana, as this plant offers very similar foliage to banana.
However, Strelitzia is more closely related to Ravenala, the Madagascar plant known as the Traveler’s Palm.
Strelitzia in USA
Most Strelitzias are grown in North America, especially in Florida and California. Although native to Africa, Strelitzia has become the official flower of Los Angeles, California.
Benefits and Uses
Some species, such as Strelitzia reginae, has been used in traditional medicine to treat diseases caused by bacterial pathogens.
It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant and is considered as Queen of the houseplant world, although only Strelitzia Nicolai and Strelitzia Reginae are treated as houseplants.
The plant is also used in landscaping as an architecturalplant.
The flowers are orange, red, yellow or even blue and purple.
Spring, Autumn, Winter, Summer
Strelitzia can grow as tall as 1 m (3 ft) or taller, while some species (Strelitzia nicolai) can reach 10 metres (33 ft) high.
Strelitzia prefers organically rich, moist and well drained soil. The optimal soil pH is between 6.0 and 6.5. If treated well, this plant can produce up to 36 flower spikes a year.