Monday, February 22, 2010

Heliconia in flower - R65

Slipper vine

Thunbergia mysorensis, or Clock Vine, is a woody-stemmed, evergreen climbing flowering plant, native to India. The name,mysorensis is derived from the city of Mysore in the south of India. Is also sometimes called "Brick & Butter Vine" & "Dolls' Shoes".
The vine often reaches 20 feet (6 metres) and has narrow leaves. The flowers are shaped like pendants and are brownish red with a yellow center, and bloom from Spring to Autumn.
The plant is a popular tropical garden item because of its attractiveness to hummingbirds.

Slipper Vines - thunbergia mysorensis


Platycerium Elephantotis


Heliconia latispatha (Starwiz) from Wikimedia Commons

Heliconia article from Wikipedia

Heliconia is a genus of about 100 to 200 species of flowering plants native to the tropical Americas and the Pacific Oceanislands west to Indonesia. Common names for the genus include lobster-clawswild plantains or false bird-of-paradise. The last term refers to their close similarity to the bird-of-paradise flowers (Strelitzia). Collectively, these plants are also simply referred to as heliconias.
It is the sole genus of the family Heliconiaceae, but was formerly included in the family Musaceae. The APG system of 1998, and its successor, the APG II system of 2003, confirms the Heliconiaceae as distinct and places them in the order Zingiberales, in the commelinid clade of monocots.
The leaves of these plants are 15-300 cm long, oblong, growing opposite one another on non-woody petioles often longer than the leaf, often forming large clumps with age. Their flowers are produced on long, erect or drooping panicles, and consist of brightly colored waxy bracts, with small true flowers peeping out from the bracts. The growth habit of heliconias is similar toCannaStrelitzia, and bananas, to which they are related.

Heliconias are grown for the florist's trade and as landscape plants. The flower of H. psittacorum (Parrot Heliconia) is especially distinctive, its greenish-yellow flowers with black spots and red bracts reminding of the bright plumage of parrots.
Several cultivars and hybrids have been selected for garden planting, including:
  • H. psittacorum × H. spathocircinata, both species of South America, mainly Brazil
  • H. × rauliniana = H. marginata (Venezuela) × H. bihai (Brazil)
  • H. chartacea cv. 'Sexy Pink'
Heliconias are an important food source for forest hummingbirds, especially the hermits (Phathornithinae), some of which – such as the Rufous-breasted Hermit (Glaucis hirsuta) – also use the plant for nesting. The Honduran White Bat (Ectophylla alba) also lives in tents it makes from heliconia leaves.

Heliconia wagneriana

Heliconia pendula

Heliconia rostrata

New Heliconias

Various Heliconias from R49. Larger plants at R69 and R89.

These are some of the actual plants for sale. The following few posts will include photos of these species in flower.