Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Flowers: Bird of Paradise

Mom took this picture in her Guadalajara garden

I spent last evening cleaning up my flower beds and found plenty of new growth just poking up through the soil. I may have some bulbs in flower by next week but for this week's Friday flowers, I am featuring a tropical plant once again. Mom and Dad are visiting and have been sharing some of their stories and digital pictures of birds and flowers in their area of Mexico.

The Strelitzia, commonly known as the bird of paradise flower, is a perennial plant native to South Africa. I remember them in our garden there and they have always been a favourite of mine. Mom grew them in her garden in Guadalajara, Mexico and they are found in many tropical and subtropical locations. They are also known as the crane lily and are of the same family as the banana. The bird of paradise grows to about four feet in height and is trunkless with thick, waxy green leaves that resemble a banana leaf.

The flower is named for its resemblance to the bird of paradise, a bird found in areas of Australasia. (photo from Wikipedia). You can decide if there is a similarity between the bird and the flower.

Philip's banana grove

My brother has a banana grove on his property and my mother took this picture of his banana flowers. You can see the green bananas developing above the petals. A banana stalk dies after it produces fruit but new shoots develop from the root system beside the dead stalks. (My raspberry canes produce in the same way.) There are similarities in the foliage and flower, but the bird of paradise is strictly ornamental.
I will admire the flower of the Strelitzia, but the banana will always be one of my favourite foods.

8 comments:

  1. I spent many happy hours in banana groves as a child! We used the purple petals (seen in your photo) as dishes and cups for our "tea parties." Fun days.

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  2. Double thanks--first for the lovely flower. I opened your blog, saw the photo and went -- oooooooo. I needed that.
    Second, thanks for the nudge to get going on my flower beds. I am a bit behind and need to move. I have only worked in raking my yard, nothing on flower beds yet.

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  3. Wow. That is one gorgeous flower. Your Mother does a great job with the camera, Ruth. And the bananas - so cool.

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  4. Very cool- I've never seen a banana flower before!

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  5. I love flowers with so many colors like that! Also, the bird is stunning! Keep up the great work!

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  6. How interesting! I never noticed the similarity between the bird and the flower. Very cool.

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  7. Africakid- you have a good imagination. The petals would make a perfect tea dishes.

    KGMom- I love poking around in the dirt and could hardly wait for the last of the snow to melt. I hadn't cut down all my perennials last fall, so there was lots to do.

    Mary- My mom just started taking pictures a couple of years ago when she got a digital camera. She has lots of latent talent!

    Lynne- The banana plant is so interesting. The tree ripened fruit is quite different in taste to our supermarket bananas.

    Mon@rch- thanks! Tropical plants are so extravagent. I love them.

    Lostroses- thanks for visiting and commenting. The bird is very interesting and I believe the feathers were used for hats in bygone days.

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  8. Talk about some serious color-suddenly I'm in the mood for some fruit salad.

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