Strelitzia (bird of paradise) is a genus of five species of perennial plants, native to South Africa. It belongs to the plant family Strelitziaceae. The genus is named after the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. A common name of the genus is bird of paradise flower, because of a supposed resemblance of its flowers to the bird of paradise. In South Africa it is commonly known as a crane flower. The species S. nicolai is the largest in the genus, reaching 10 m. tall, with stately white and blue flowers; the other species typically reach 2 to 3.5 m tall, except S. caudata which is a tree of a typically smaller size than S. nicolai. The leaves are large, 30-200 cm long and 10-80 cm broad, similar to a banana leaf in appearance but with a longer petiole, and arranged strictly in two ranks to form a fan-like crown of evergreen foliage.
Strelitzia photo (c) Flora Export S.G. Israel LTD
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