Monday, November 01, 2010

Hanging Lobster Claw

Hanging Lobster Claw
Heliconia rostrata
(hel-ih-KOH-nee-uh) (ro-STRAY-tuh)
Synonyms: Crab Claws, false bird-of-paradise

This flower was blooming on the Big Island of Hawaii. I think the identification is correct, as this is the species of Heliconia that the flowers hang downward. The plant was about ten feet tall, which also matches Heliconia rostrata.

Heliconias have about 200 species and are mostly native to tropical America. They are important plants in the florist industry and to wildlife. The name Heliconia comes from Mount Helicon, the seat of the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts and sciences in Greek mythology.

The color photo shows the brilliant red of the bracts (modified leaves). The true flowers are the little yellow bits sticking out of the ends.

"November's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear."
Sir Walter Scott 1771-1832


Judy said...

Wow! I have never seen anything like that! And thank you for all the information about the plant!

SandyCarlson said...

That's a mighty red. And an incredible flower. So unusual. I really do have to get out and about more to experience things like this up front. Amazing.

Indrani said...

We have them blooming here.