Strelitzia reginae

  • Crane flower; Bird of Paradise (E)

  • Kraanvoelblom(A)

  • isigude (Z)


  • Strelitziaceae


  • This is a slow growing perennial evergreen shrub which can be up to 1.5M tall and reach 2M in diameter. The Strelitzia reginae is a low maintenance plant, needing little watering once established and can handle mild frost. It is an extremely popular garden plant and is lovely as a pot plant and for cut flowers, but the plant does love to be in the sun.


  • The leaves are similiar to banana leaves and are arranged in a fan position and tufted. They are grey-green in colour.


  • The fruit is a hard woody capsule that contains the seeds. The capsules split from the apex in Summer. The seeds are round and are brown-black in colour, each having a yellow tuft of hair.


  • The beautiful orange and purple-blue flowers appear like the head and beak of a bird and stand above the leaves at the tip of a long stalk. The stalks have four to six flowers that appear in boat-shaped spathes. The flowers can occur throughout the year, but predominantly between May and December, and they last for a long time. Please note that this is a slow growing plant so it will take between three to five years for it to first bloom.


  • The abakwaMthethwa clan (Nguni tribes of Northern KwaZulu-Natal) are known to have use a strained liquid from the flowers to treat inflamed glands and venereal disease.

  • In the Cape the seeds were used to turn milk sour.


  • Sunbirds and other birds, as well as bees love the flowers for their nectar.

  • Birds eat and disperse the seeds.


  • The Strelitzia reginae is found from the Eastern Cape up to Northern KwaZulu-Natal, being indigenous to South Africa.