Garden

Bird of Paradise - Strelizia alba

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The sterlizia

The Strelizia alba is native to South Africa, it is a genus composed of 5 species of evergreen shrubs and palm trees, with large leaves usually placed parallel to each other. The plant needs mild temperatures to survive, abundant watering, and a location not exposed to direct sunlight. The flowers are asymmetrical and have 3 small petals and 3 large petals, two of the latter welded together.

The genus Strelitzia includes five species of herbaceous plants belonging to the Musaceae family (such as the banana tree). They are all of subtropical origin, in particular they come from southern Africa.

They are also commonly called "bird of paradise", while the current botanical name was given to them to honor the bride of the king of England George III, Sophia of Mecklemburg-Strelitz.

These are herbaceous plants without stems. The leaves, in fact, sprout directly from the collar at ground level. The roots are imposing, collated and very fleshy. In the open ground, and in their natural environments, they are able to develop up to considerable depth in order to be able to obtain water and nutrients.


General features

The species that is most easily found on the market is undoubtedly the reginae. This sort of strelizia alba is sold both as a houseplant and as a cut flower, as it can become part of beautiful compositions with a tropical flavor.

It consists of a head of large, rather leathery and shiny leaves, oval shaped and up to 40 cm long ... The central grain is in relief. The upper page is a beautiful bright green, while the lower one takes on a glaucous hue due to the strong presence of the bloom. The petioles, which sprout directly from the ground forming a large head, are very robust and can range from 70 cm up to one and a half meters in length.

In our hemisphere these plants generally bloom in the middle of winter (ie from November until the maximum in May). It should however be noted that in the places of origin in this period it is at the height of summer.

The stems of the bird of paradise plant, with a round section, can be of considerable size (even exceeding one meter in length). At the top there is a green spathe suffused with red which, upon opening, lets out from 3 to 8 flowers. These are made up of countless bright orange tepals and three of a beautiful turquoise blue. Both the shape and the contrast of colors create a memorable show.

In our latitudes it is practically impossible for pollination to occur; in fact in nature it is operated by insects and above all small birds with which the plant lives almost in symbiosis. It is therefore rather unlikely to see the ripening of the fruits and therefore to obtain seeds, if not in a controlled environment where pollination takes place at the hands of man.

In any case, the fruits are made up of three capsules placed in a triangle, from which, when ripe, the seeds emerge, round, shiny black and equipped with a thick orange-yellow plumage, very lively.

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