mastering the world and its previously inaccessible corners gave a person a meeting with the most amazing plants. Among them is Strelitzia, the description and types of which became available to botany lovers at the turn of the 19th century.
A small genus of strelitzia or strelitzii comes from South Africa, where these rather large perennials prefer to settle on sunny, dry plateaus, as well as in a transparent shade under large trees. Travelers who mastered distant lands could not help noticing the plants with bright, hard buds that resemble the heads of strange birds of paradise. At first, strelititsii were “domesticated” by immigrants from Europe, and then from southern Africa they also fell into the Old World.
The name of the flower was in honor of Charlotte Sofia Mecklenburg-Strelitz. So the British botanists not only flattered their queen, but also expressed their gratitude to her for her interest in science and the discovery in Kew of the largest, and nowadays botanical garden.
Description of Strelitzia
All currently known strelitzii are large evergreen perennials with a powerful aboveground part and the same root system. Thanks to the taproot, the plant is perfectly adapted to the lack of moisture. The leaves of certain types of arrowhead resemble banana, but in arid areas the leaf plates of local varieties diminish, become like a paddle or disappear altogether, turning the plant into something like a giant, covered with a waxy bloom of a coiled porcupine. The adornment of Strelitzia is its inflorescences, combining from 5 to 7 orange-purple flowers.
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The largest arrows, according to the descriptions of the species, reach 10 meters in height. For growing in the room, nurseries of the Republic of South Africa, in Australia and other countries choose more compact varieties and are actively engaged in selection of original varieties and dwarf plants.
Strelitzia royal( Strelitzia reginae)
The first of the open and described types of strelitzia also received the royal name. The plant originates from southern Africa and quickly became popular not only in Europe, but also in the New World. Los Angeles officially made the flower its living symbol. A unpretentious royal strelitzia reciprocate the townspeople and for a very long time delight with unusual flowering.
Crohn's potted plant reaches a height of 1–1.5 meters. Oval or slightly tapered leaves, 40 long and 30 cm long, are arranged in two rows, have a smooth surface, smooth edges and a long, hard petiole growing to 60 cm. Under the soil there is a powerful rhizome with which the flower can be propagated.
Inflorescence, partially hidden by stiff greenish-brown bracts, consists of several flowers with orange and blue-violet petals. With proper care, the size of a single flower reaches 10–15 cm, and another may follow the spring flowering. According to the description, strelitzia can not fade up to a month, while the flowers also steadfastly behave when pruned.
Choosing the royal strelitzia in the store, you can see another name - small leaf strelitzia or Strelitzia Parvifolia. This is the same culture, which is considered the best for home cultivation.
In order to diversify the collections of flower growers, in South Africa, the Mandela Gold variety was bred with unusual for wild plants yellow-blue flowers and two-flowering.
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Strelitzia can rightly be called the royal flower. Not only did the entire genus and the first species receive the name of the British Queen, another species of the flower was named in honor of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, fascinated by the flora and supervising St. Petersburg Botanical Garden.
As follows from the description, the view of this strelitzia can be rightfully attributed to the largest greenhouse plants. Therefore, it is not surprising that feathers act as pollinators in nature, and in a pot culture a flower must be pollinated by hand.
Plants growing to 10 meters high resemble a banana externally, which influenced the appearance of the popular name Strelitzia. Long, on powerful petioles, wild banana leaves are actively used by the population for the manufacture of hedges, ropes, and roofing.
In the spring, the trunks, more palm-like, are decorated with white-blue inflorescences in purple, greenish-red stiff stipules.
Strelitzia mountain( Strelitzia caudata)
Another large type of strelitzia - mountain. In size, she boldly competes with the trees of the rainforest. Grassy perennial can grow up to 10 meters in height. As it grows, the lower part of the trunk becomes bare, making the plant look like a regular banana or even a palm tree.
Like the previously described species, mountain strelitzia flowers consist of white and blue inner petals. The corollas joined at the bottom are combined in several pieces and covered with reddish or dark purple stipules up to half a meter long.
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Strelitzia reed( Strelitzia juncea)
This type of strelitzia is very different in description from large varieties. And it's not only in a more modest size, but also in the appearance of the plant. The desert view from the east of South Africa is perfectly adapted to the long dry period and, unlike other strelitzia, tolerates a good lowering of the temperature to slight frost.
The orange-purple flowers of reed arrowhead are very reminiscent of the flowering of the royal variety. However, the appearance of the foliage will not allow to confuse these plants. The dense rosette is formed by elongated, wax-coated leaves and needles, completely devoid of leaf plates and growing to a length of 1.5–2 meters.
Due to the great demand of florists from all over the world, in nature, the type of strelitzia described above is endangered. For flower propagation, nurseries use bioculture, vegetative methods and artificial pollination for seed production.
Strelitzia white( Strelitzia alba)
In the Cape region you can see wild plants of another famous species. These are large, with partially lignified stems and long elliptical leaves of white sturgeon or Augustus. Once a year, original inflorescences of white flowers appear from the axils of the leaves, hidden for the time being in purple lanceolate bracts.
Flowering lasts from May to mid-summer, while the petals up to 15–18 cm long do not fade to give birth to the fruit-boxes that ripen at the end of winter. Like reed strelitzia, its larger relative also needs to be protected and is included in the Red Book of South African plants.
Briefly about Strelitzia - video