What is Bird of Paradise Plant?
One of the most recognizable tropical plants is the Birds of Paradise or Strelitzia reginae. The bright orange sepals and lilac petals that emerge from the light green stems resemble the name of the bird, a long-fed colorful bird. The creature is named because it consists of three bright orange petals and three blue petals fuse together in a single bud. The bird of heaven comes from its flower. Each petal debuts as the flower blooms and the resultant form resemble a tropical flying bird.
Bird of Paradise Plant Meaning
Paradise significance birds include joy and paradise, anticipation and excitement. The Bird of Paradise is faithfulness, devotion, and thoughtfulness, making it the perfect loving gift. Certain significance include:
- The Paradise Bird grows wild in Hawaii and is an important part of the culture.
- The name means “the little globe” in Hawaiian and represents splendor.
- Paradise birds also represent a good outlook on life.
In tropical or subtropical habitats, as a garden crop, paradise birds are better, particularly climates: from 9-12, where the temperature is dry, bright, and free from frost. It takes 3-5 years for a crop to grow from the seed and produce flowers. Plants produced from break can bloom in around 1-2 years. For those living in warmer climates, Birds of the Paradise is a common ornamental plant. It’s easy to grow and easy to keep. It is indeed one of the most easily grown tropical plants. The most soil conditions can be endured and minimum irrigation is needed. It blooms during the whole year, generally in the late winter and early spring, under the ideal conditions.
History of Bird of Paradise Flower
During the 1770s, King George III of England’s wife, Queen Charlotte, wanted to expand the variety of plants and flowers in the Royal Botanical Gardens. The gardens, situated in Kew, housed a large number of exotic greeneries. The garden director, Sir Joseph Banks, appointed Francis Masson, a Scottish botanist, as the first plant collector to further the project.
On the exploratory trip to South Africa, Masson discovered the evergreen tropical plant known there as Crane Flower, most commonly known to us now as the bird of paradise. The natives called it Crane Flower because the way the petals twist backward resembles the head of a crane. The flower is native to the subtropical provinces of South Africa, namely KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. It thrived in the warm, sunny climate in the region.
It was nothing like any flower in England. It sported thick, long, glossy leaves that resemble those of banana leaves. The flower had three bright orange and three blue petals that are spread out like the plumes of a bird in flight. The bird of paradise was aptly named due to the petals forming the shape of tropical birds, and its vibrant coloring was reminiscent of a tropical paradise.
The bird of paradise’s exotic look and bright colors made it a very good candidate to be exhibited at the Kew Gardens back in London. Masson sent the bird of paradise to the Royal Botanical Gardens and there it was cultivated since 1773. He was also able to collect over 500 other new plant species which made his first expedition a real success.
When the flower was brought to England, the then Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz requested it to be named after her. She was an amateur botanist and was the proponent for the expansion of the Kew Gardens. Hence, the scientific name, Strelitzia reginae, was given to the plant by the garden director. Reginae simply means queen, and Strelitzia was named after the Queen as wished.
This history connected to the royal families has made the bird of paradise a symbol of royalty and elegance.
Facts of Bird of Paradise Flower
Birds of paradise flowers are popular cut flowers, especially for summer floral arrangements, with a flowering time from March until October. They are an excellent way to make any bouquet or core piece more colorful and exotic and are popular in marriages. The tropics dreaming?
Imagine our tropical bouquets of flowers with other native plants including vivid orchids paired with traditional blooms such as roses and lily bulbs.
- It is a Unique and Lovely Flower.
- It is also called the cranium flowers because of its cranium shape.
- Five bird species are heaven.
- All species reside in South Africa.
- It is a perennial which, for its spectacular flowers, is always green and usually planted.
- Birds of Paradise thrive between September and May. The official bloom of Los Angeles, California, where most of the flowers are grown in North America, is Birds of Paradise.
- Paradise birds reflect independence, grace, and splendor the crop is similar to the banana.
- Birds of Paradise is from South America, known as the Crane Flower
- Plants planted in partly shady places can produce greater flowers than in the sun.
Cultural Significance of Bird of Paradise Flower
The bird of paradise or crane flower is a significant part of South Africa’s culture. In its native home, it represents freedom and beauty. It evokes the vision of a majestic tropical bird spreading its wings in flight which perfectly epitomizes the essence of liberty. In addition to valuing freedom, the South Africans also care deeply about the environment. As an expression of this consciousness, they used the image of the Strelitzia flower on their 50-cent coin.
In Hawaii, the bird of paradise grows rampantly. The beautifully exotic plant is also native to the idyllic islands. The name they gave the flower means ‘Little Globe’. To them, it is the embodiment of paradise, their little home. Many have been moved by it, featuring the lovely blooms in poems, songs, paintings, and even in plays. Here is a couple of examples of works of art inspired by this exotic beauty.
Floral artist, Georgia O’Keefe, was well-known for her painting of the white variety of bird of paradise in the 1940s.
One play in 1912 that highlighted Hawaiian culture was entitled The Bird of Paradise. It features the love story between an American soldier and a Polynesian beauty. It was a big hit that merited a film adaptation in 1932.
To other people in the world, the bird of paradise became the symbol of various positive virtues. Around the globe, the giving of this flower carries a lot of significance. Here is a list of the common meanings associated with birds of paradise.
Faithfulness and loyalty
- It is customary to give the flower as a gift for a married couple’s ninth anniversary.
- It is also used for wedding bouquets.
Optimism and positive energy
- When a person receives good news, like a job promotion, they usually get a bouquet of birds of paradise to wish them a bright future ahead.
- People also give this to a person who is moving away to wish them luck and good fortune.
- It is also a sign of optimism to bring this to celebrations like graduations, births, and other new beginnings.
One can never go wrong when choosing this flower to bring to joyous events.
Popular Types of Bird of Paradise Flowers
There are many different types of birds of paradise plants available today. Some popular varieties include:
This type has large blossoms with long stamens. They grow up to 10 inches tall. White birds of paradise are very easy to maintain because they don’t require much water.
These flowers come in all sizes but tend to be smaller than those of the white variety. Pink birds of paradise are more delicate looking than the others.
Red birds of paradise are similar to pink ones except that they have larger petals. Their stems are shorter too.
Yellow birds of paradise are among the most beautiful flowering shrubs you will ever see. They bloom from spring through summer.
Purple birds of paradise are one of the rarest species out there. Only two or three exist in the wild. If you want to grow your own purple birds of paradise, then you need to look into getting some seeds. You’ll find these at nurseries specializing in tropical plants.
Bluebirds of paradise are another rare breed. There are only around 20 blue birds of paradise left on earth.
Green birds of paradise are not really green. Instead, they’re actually yellowish green. However, they do produce small amounts of chlorophyll which makes them appear green.
Orange birds of paradise are quite interesting. They resemble orange peels. In fact, their name comes from this resemblance.
What Occasions to Give a Bird of Paradise as a Gift?
The best occasions to give a bird of paradise plant as a gift are weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduation ceremonies, and any special occasion where someone needs encouragement.
You may even consider sending it along with an invitation if you know the recipient well enough. This way, he/she won’t feel pressured to accept the offer right away.
Bird of Paradise vs. Banana Plant
Both banana plants and birds of paradise are native to Australia. Both are grown primarily indoors. But while bananas are eaten by people worldwide, birds of paradise aren’t.
A banana plant grows anywhere between 3-5 feet high. It’s considered a low maintenance houseplant since its leaves stay relatively flat throughout the year. The main difference between a banana plant and a bird of paradise is that the latter produces colorful blooms.
Birds of Paradise
They start growing after 4 months and reach maturity within 6 months. Birds of paradise are extremely hardy plants. They thrive outdoors during winter time without needing protection.