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Family Strelitziaceae
Bird of paradise
Strelitzia reginae Banks
He wang lan

Scientific names Common names
Heliconia bihai J.F.Mill. [Illegitimate] Bird of paradise (Engl.)
Heliconia strelizia J.F.Gmel. Crane flower (Engl.)
Strelitzia angustifolia W.T.Aiton Mandela's gold strelitzia (Engl.)
Strelitzia cucullata Volut  
Strelitzia farinosa W.T.Aiton  
Strelitzia gigantea J.Kern.  
Strelitzia glauca A.Riich  
Strelitzia humilis Link  
Strelitzia ovata W.T.Aiton  
Strelitzia parvifolia W.T.Aiton  
Strelitzia prolifera Carriere  
Strelitzia pumila Planch  
Strelitzia reginae Banks  
Strelitzia rutilans C.Morren  
Strelitzia spathulata Volut  
Strelitzia reginae is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
AFRICA: Geelkraanvoel blom, Geel piesang, Kraanvoelblom.
CHINESE: He wang lan.
FRENCH: Oiseau du paradis.
GERMAN: Paradiesvogelblume.
PORTUGUESE: Bananeira-rainha, estrelitzia, Flor-da-rainha.

Gen info
- The species was first described in 1788 by Sir Joseph Banks.
- The specific epithet reginae means "of the queen", and commemorates the British queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of George III.

- Strelitzia reginae is shown to be paraphyletic as S. juncea is genetically nested within it. It is possibly a mutation in the process of speciating. (3)
- Designated the official flower of the City of Los Angeles. (3) In 1952, it was declared LA's floral emblem by Mayor Fletcher Bowron to celebrate the city's 171st birthday. (3)

Bird-of-paradise is a perennial plant growing to a height of 2 meters. Leaves are large, up to 70 centimeters long and 30 centimeters wide on petioles up to 1 meter long. Leaves are evergreen, arranged in two ranks in a fan-shaped crown. Flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks. The spathe from which the flower emerges is perpendicular to the stem giving the appearance of a bird's head and beak. Flowers are showy with three brilliant orange sepals and three purple or blue petals. S. Seeds with black with vivid orange arils. (3) (8)

- Native to South Africa.
- Widely naturalized globally as an ornamental plant.

- Phytochemical analysis of rhizomes of S. reginae isolated an unusual new (1) and four known phenalenone-type compounds. (5)
- Delphinidin-3-rutinoside (used for color) has been isolated from the petals and proanthoncyanidin polymers (flavonoids, antioxidants) from the leaves. 
- Floral pigments include carotenoids and the anthocyanin-3-rutinoside. Study have shown bilirubin is the primary aril pigment and is also present in low concentrations in the sepals. (8)

Parts used
Roots, infloresence.


- No known folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In South African traditional medicine used for treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The Zulus use decoction of crushed roots used to relieve symptoms of STDs.. Strained decoctions from inflorescnece used to treat inflamed glands and venereal diseases. Seeds used to sour milk. (3) (5)

Flower Nectar:
Study of nectar of Strelitzia reginae using enzymatic methods yielded glucose,, fructose, and sucrose. The sugar composition changed considerably over the nectar producing period, with increase in glucose (51%) and fructose (32%) between early and middle stage of secretion, and a 13 and 24$ decrease, respectively, towards the end. (4)
Pigments / Bilirubin: Floral pigments include carotenoids and anthocyanin delphinidin-3-rutinoside. Study discovered bilirubin in the arils of S. nicolai. HPLC and HPLC/electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry show that bilirubin is the primary aril pigment and is also present in low concentrations in its sepals (less than 44.0 ng/g.(8)

- Wild-crafted.
- Ornamental cultivation.
- Seeds in the cybermarket.

April 2020

IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph: Flower of bird of paradise / Scott Bauer, USDA / Released by the Agricultural Research Service / /Public Domain / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph: Closeup Jardim Botanico da Madeira : Bird of paradise / Hansueli Krapf / CC by SA 3.0 / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph: / © ebay / click on image to go to source page /ebay

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Strellitzia reginae / Synonyms / The Plant List
Strelitzia / Wkipedia
Strlitzia reginae / Wikipedia
The nectar of the Strelitzia reginae flower  / Eva C Kronestedt-Robards, Maria Greger, Anthony W Robards / Physiologia Plantarum, 77(3) / https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-3054.1989.tb05651.x
Phenalenones from Strelitzia reginae / Holscher D, Schneider B / Journal of Nat Prod., July 2000; 63(7): pp 1027-1028 / PMID:10924194 / DOI: 10.1021/np000035c
Strelitzia reginae / Liesl van der Walt, Phakamani Xaba / PlantZAfrica
Official Flower of LA / Chris Nichols
The Animal Pigment Bilirubin Identified in Strelitzia reginae, the Bird of Paradise Flower / Cary Pirone, Jodie V Johnson, J Martin E Quirk et al / Hort Science, 45(9): pp 1411-1415 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.45.9.1411

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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