Sunday, June 5, 2011

Heliconia rostrata

I did not post any photos of this beautiful tropical flower for quite some time so I think it's about time to say a few words about these Heliconia rostrata. Again, this year, everything is about a month late. Usually, these flowers come in late April, early May but this year, they begin just about now.

Heliconia rostrata (Lobster claw, False-bird-of-paradise) is an herbaceous perennial native to the north western region of South America. Other Heliconias grow in the upright position and their cup-shaped flowers serve as water containers for birds and insects. This plant, however, has pendant flowers and they contain nectar. In the wild, Heliconias provide an important food source for forest hummingbirds. This Heliconia (named after Mount Helicon, the seat of the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts and sciences in Greek mythology) rostrata (rostrata is a Latin adjective meaning beaked, curved, hooked, with a crooked point,) known as patuj├║, is the national flower of Bolivia. Their brightly colorful parts are not flowers. They are bracts designed to protect the tiny flowers with nectar so that only some special species of birds can access them: the humming birds.
Lobster Claws

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