Here is another vibrant tropical flower from my garden, the Heliconia.
There are many different species of Heliconia, I have 3 different species in the garden. The leaves of this plant are paddle-shaped, and they are related to the ginger and banana families. Heliconia are sometimes called “lobster claws” or “parrot flowers” because of their beak-like “bracts” which can be orange, purple, red, yellow, pink, green or a combination of these. A bract is a leaf structure at the base of a flower. The Heliconia flowers are tiny and found inside these bracts, which are so large and colourful that they almost hide the flowers.
They are natives of the tropical Americas and over there they are pollinated by hummingbirds with beaks shaped to extend into the bracts and reach the flowers. I don’t know if they have pollinators here, but they spread rapidly and exuberantly by underground rhizomes and can soon dominate the garden beds.
The flowers last for many weeks and in the hot, humid months of summer make a vibrant show. They are very easy to grow and don’t appear to have any pests or diseases.
Nalinki on “Angles and views” is hosting a weekly series called: “Flowersoverflowers”, it will be posted every Tuesday. The idea is to bring some more colorful pics of nature into our blogosphere.