strelitzia family


Strelitzia is a genus of five species of perennial plants, native to South Africa. The genus is named after the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. The 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; 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. The flowers are produced in a horizontal inflorescence emerging from a stout spathe. They are pollinated by sunbirds, which use the spathe as a perch when visiting the flowers; the weight of the bird on the spathe opens it to release the pollen onto the bird's feet, which is then deposited on the next flower it visits.Species

In the media

Strelitzia is featured in an episode of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, when Mike helps in the cutting down of an overgrown Bird of Paradise plant in Southern California.

Strelitzia is mentioned in the film Imagine Me & You in which Luce, played by Lena Headey, gives a brief history of the flower and Queen Charlotte.

In the science fiction show Farscape the elite of the lizard-like Scarrans eat dried Strelitzia to increase their cognitive functions. In the episode "Terra Firma" other aliens are seen eating the flowers with apparent enjoyment.

References and notes




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