Monday, April 13, 2009

Giant Bird of Paradise

Giant Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia nicolai
(stre-LITZ-ee-uh) (NIK-oh-ly)
Synonyms: White Bird of Paradise, Natal Strelitzia, Wild Strelitzia

It is nice to have a flower that hasn’t been featured here before. This is, of course, a tropical plant. Well technically it is a sub-tropical. It is a species of Bird of Paradise and is much larger and more course than the more common orange flowered Bird of Paradise or Crane Flower (Strelitzia reginae). From a distance this tree looks like a Travelers Tree (Ravenala madagascariensis) but that tree’s flowers lack the blue tongue of the Strelitza. There are some other differences too, but that is the first thing that came to my mind.

The foliage gets huge and is subject to tearing in open areas. The tree itself gets to 20 to 30 feet tall but generally stays smaller in cultivation. It likes full sun or partial shade. It is recommended for USDA Zone 9B through 11. Bird of Paradise can take up to five years to reach its full flowering potential.

Here is a picture that I took at the next building over from the Bird of Paradise. Both were in Pacific Beach. This shot could have had better composition but I liked these poppies. You don’t see that shade of orange too much. This picture was cropped but lucky it was taken with D700. It still ended up larger than a D70 file.


Sara Chapman in Seattle said...

Hi Chris,

I did not know that Bird of Paradise had other colors, silly me. The tulip below is magnificent, as is the almost edible-looking double impatiens. Weather here is quite cold also. We are lucky if it gets in the 50s, but I don't think we'll see 24 degrees! Poor you!

ChrisJ said...

We have several giant Bird of Paradise in our back yard and they are at least 20 feet. The thing I like best about them is that they attract beautiful orioles, humming birds and others.

Willy said...

I had no idea these came in white. I will have to keep a lookout for one. Thanks for showing us your photograph.