Heliconia rostrata


Family: Belongs to the Heliconiaceae or Heliconia family, which includes the Lobsterclaw Heliconia (Heliconia caribaea) and the Firebird Heliconia (H. stricta). Heliconia flowers are much loved by humming birds.

Description: Large, handsome shrub, 2-3 m tall (6-10 ft) to tips of leaves, flowering all year; rhizome creeping and branching underground; very large, oblong, attractive leaves, paddle-shaped with long leaf-stalk wrapped around stem, and leaf blades 40 cm wide (16 in) and more than 1 m long (40 in); inflorescences are terminal, 30 - 60 cm long (12 - 24 in) on unbranched shoots, large and pendulous; flowers brightly colored, red with greenish yellow edges and ends, 15-20 cm long (6-8 in), arise alternately on stem, consist of large bracts with actual flower parts inside, not unlike a banana flower in structure; fruit a blue berry.

Natural Habitat: Tropics at lower elevations, growing best in partial shade; propagated by offsets or rhizome parts, or merely replanting divided clumps.

Origin and Distribution: Native to Tropical America; discontinuously distributed in tropics and subtropics; Heliconias are particularly popular in Puerto Rico where a wealth of different cultivars have been developed. [The link will take you to page 6 (H. rostrata) of several pages of photos of exquisite Heliconia cultivars.]

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