3 brilliant orange sepals and 3 bright blue petals
Tufted, evergreen, acaulescent (stemless) perennial herb up to 1,5 m tall and 2 m in diameter.
Occurs naturally only in South Africa: eastern coast, from Humansdorp to northern KwaZulu-Natal in coastal bush and thicket. It grows along river banks in full sun, however sometimes it occurs and flowers on margins of forest in shade.
It has been reported that the abakwaMthethwa clan in KwaZulu-Natal use the strained decoctions from the inflorence to treat inflamed glands and venereal diseases. The seeds are also used in the Cape to sour milk. Delphinidin-3-rutinoside (used for colour) has been isolated from the petals and proanthoncyanidin polymers (flavonoids, antioxidants) from the leaves. Strelitzia reginae is widely used in landscaping as an architectural plant and focal point.
Bees are common visitors when the spathe is in flower. Sunbirds may be the pollinator, but this has still to be proven. The role of sunbirds in Strelitzia pollination needs to be investigated, as they have been observed “robbing” the flowers by taking nectar but by-passing the pollination mechanism. Birds eat and disperse the seed.
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