When it comes to tropical flowers, nothing will compare to the unique beauty of Bird of Paradise flower. The complex appeal of the blooms and the beautiful combination of colors make this flower the quintessential exotic tropical flower. It has three petals in bright orange color and the three blue petals are fused together in one single bud. The shape of the flower resembles that of a tropical bird in the act of flight.
Aside from the rare shape of the flowers of Bird of Paradise, this plant also has a very unique leaf. Its foliage is like the leaves of banana that has long petioles. They are in two ranks arranged beautifully and strictly forming like a crown. With its glossy green and waxy thick foliage, the flower makes a very attractive and colorful plant to add to a landscape in the garden or front porch or indoor.
Bird of Paradise History
The flower of Bird of Paradise has a scientific name of Strelitzia reginae which was named by Sir Joseph Banks for the genus Strelitzia. Sir Banks named it in honor of Queen Charlotte, the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Since 1773, this flower has been grown in Kew, South Africa at the Royal Botanic Gardens. It is known also as the Crane Flower originating from South Africa.
Throughout time, this flower has been popular not only as an exotic flower but as a source of inspiration in fine arts, floral artistry, paintings, and more. Georgia O’Keefe, a floral artist used the flower in her masterpiece painting. She used White Bird Paradise in 1940s.
This flower was also made into a stage or theatrical play in 1912. The story was about interracial romance which revolved between a young American sailor and a beautiful Polynesian. It was popularized in Hawaii and was made into a film in 1932.
Bird of Paradise Meanings
There are two major representations that are linked with this flower, beauty and freedom. Symbolizing paradise and royalty, this flower of the tropical regions is a perfect gift on cheerful and joyful occasions and special events. In addition, it also represents immortality. When sending a flower arrangement or a plant that contains Bird of Paradise, it could mean that you are optimistic of the future or that you want to celebrate the occasion.
Another meaning associated with this flower is excellence and success or magnificence. It also represents the 9th wedding anniversary. However, this flower is also symbolic of passion and high energy with its sets of contrasting colors and variations in textures, sizes, and shapes of leaves.
Bird of Paradise Facts
Bird of Paradise flower is a species with many varieties but only 6 of those are recognized worldwide. Out of those six varieties, two are most common and popular, the Strelitzia Nicolai and Strelitzia reginae. Strelitzia Nicolai is the white-colored Bird of Paradise while the Strelitzia reginae is the orange-colored ones and known as Crane Lily. The Strelitzia Caudata or Swaziland is the African desert banana and the Strelitzia Alba or Augusta is the white one.
This flower is from the family of Stretliziaceae, which is a close family or relative of the banana plant. The large and fan-like leaves of this flower look like that of the banana. The largest species of this flower is from the Strelitzia Nicolai. It is commonly referred to as the giant bird of paradise species. It can grow as tall as 30 feet.
Pollination of this plant is done in the wild through the sunbirds. Birds feed regularly on the sweet nectar of this flower. The pollen is attached to the bird’s wings whenever they land on the petals, thus pollination happens.
Freshly cut flowers of Bird of Paradise can last from one to two weeks provided that proper care is performed. Moreover, the flowers are known to have toxicity level which may induce intoxication in dogs and cats.
Blooming from March to October each year, the Bird of Paradise flowers make a perfect addition to the garden’s landscape or to the flower bouquet. It can be grown indoors, too, in pots or containers. Other uses of this flower include wedding bouquets, weekly office reception flower, interior decorations, and artists’ objects.
Bird of Paradise Care
For a tropical flower originated from South Africa and other tropical forests in the regions, this plant is expected to require a tropical type of weather and environment, including the soil and humidity. It requires moist on soil and a good amount of light from the sun. It prefers loamy soil and some food plant from time to time, especially during the growing stage. Regular watering is essential during the summer season and early spring. During the winter season where snow is abundant, it is best to keep the plant indoors. If the plant is still young but actively growing, repotting it into a larger pot or container will allow the roots to have enough room to grow.
After two years of consistent blooming, the flower has reached its maturity and will need to be carefully divided to encourage the growth of new stems. This will help the plant to bloom again for another two or three years. Aside from repotting and dividing, you can also propagate this plant from its seeds.
The flowers of a bird of Paradise, whether in white, orange, yellow, or purple color, are a perfect romantic gift of a flower. It conveys love and thoughtfulness, as well as loyalty and faithfulness. Sending this flower to a loved one or to a celebrant makes your heartfelt greetings more extravagant and one of a kind.