There are some plants so exotic that flowering is always an occasion for a little celebration. So it is with Strelitzia reginae, the South African native bird of paradise plant. My indoor specimen has flowered in the kitchen, benefiting from the low angled sun streaming through the window to keep it healthy over the winter.
Flowering is a fascinating process. I saw the flower stems begin slowly to emerge just before Christmas. Lengthening seemed to take forever but, finally, a week or so ago the tip bent over as the terminal bract developed, fattened, and, a few days later the first flower emerged. This bit is fast (in plant terms). It's almost like they are spring loaded, bouncing out and snapping into perfect form in quick time.
|Strelitzia reginae - first flower emerged|
|Strelitzia reginae - second flower emerged|
Out of flower the leaves - as befits a member of the same family as bananas and heliconias - are attractive, forming clumps of broad paddles. You can see part of one in the third, portrait picture below.
|Strelitzia reginae - second flower emerged and showing top of leaves|
I'd like to say that I grew my indoor plant from seed and nurtured it through the long years it takes to reach flowering maturity. The truth is I was given the plant last September by a work colleague of Maria's. A gift for which I'm very grateful.