Ajuntament de Barcelona

Strelitzia reginae

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Catalan name: 
    Au del paradís
    Spanish name: 
    Ave del paraíso
    English name: 
    Bird of paradise
    Species characteristics
    South Africa
    Tropical and subtropical areas

    Perennial herbaceous bush-shaped plant up to 2 m tall and 1.8 m in diameter.

    The leaves are alternate and strong and have long petioles up to 1 m. They are elongate (25-70 cm long and 10-30 cm wide), with a very marked central nervation.

    The hermaphrodite asymmetric flowers are its main appeal because of their brightness (they stand out the leaves). The flowers appear at the end of long stems and are made of three yellow or bight orange sepals and three purple-blue petals, which are placed resembling a bird (hence the vernacular name of the plant in many languages).

    The fruit is a dehiscent (it opens spontaneously to release the seeds) very hard oblong triangular capsule, about 50 mm x 20 mm. The three valves contain spherical black seeds, about the size of a pea, that are covered by orange woolliness.

    Flowering time: 
    Fruiting time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    The originality of its flowers make this a very appreciated plant in floristry to make bouquets as well as in gardening, where the Bird of Paradise is used as a decoration plant.

    It is resilient to drought.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name Strelitzia reginae consists of the genus name Strelitzia, coming from the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Germany), and the Latin term reginae, “queen”, both in allusion to Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), youngest daughter of Duke Charles I of Mecklenburg, wife of King George III of the United Kingdom and amateur botanist.

    The plant was brought for the first time in Europe in 1773, at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (South-West of London).

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996