The bird of paradise, or crane flower, is an exotic, herbaceous plant with blue petals and orange sepals. It is native to South Africa. Its flowers resemble the crest of a bird's head and bloom almost year-round.
A tropical climate, fertile soil, good drainage and partial shade make ideal growing conditions for this evergreen. Seeds can germinate in about three months, blooming in three to five years. Given all the right conditions, the bird of paradise can grow as well in a pot as in the soil. It cannot tolerate freezes.
In 1773, Sir Joseph Banks, the unofficial director of the Royal Gardens at Kew introduced the bird of paradise to Britain.
Banks gave the plant its scientific name, "Strelitzia reginae," honoring Queen Charlotte, the duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who became the consort of King George III of England.
Like the flower, the birds of the same name are brightly colored. They are native to New Guinea, where 16th-century explorers believed they were creatures from paradise.
The bird of paradise is the official flower of the City of Los Angeles, California.
- University of Florida
- Bird Of Paradise: Kew Gardens
bird of paradise, Streltzia reginae, crane flower
About this Author
Based in Northern California, Maureen Katemopoulos has been a freelance writer for over 25 years. Her articles on travel, the arts, cuisine and history have appeared in Stanislaus Magazine, Orientations, The Asia Magazine, and The Peninsula Group Magazine, among others. She holds a Baccalaureate degree in journalism from Stanford University.