Saturday, July 30, 2011

Paradise in a Flower

Bula Uro

(Fijian for an informal 'Hello')

Let's step into 'paradise' for a moment,
and check out
the Bird of Paradise flower

I fell in love with the Bird of Paradise flower
at my Grandpa Troup's funeral.
I was 8 years old.
I know, odd connection.
But that was the first time I had ever seen a flower like that.
It was stunning!
It was so bright!
The stem was thick, and the flower petals...
just so sci-fi amazing to me!
My parents let me take one home.
It lived in the back window of our car from Michigan to Kentucky.
I was very sad when it 'died'.

courtesy of TeleFlora

The history of the Bird of Paradise flower I find interesting.

Chuck Burgess
 is an HGIC Information Specialist at Clemson University.
He has a very informative page on the Bird of Paradise.
I also found some good info from Teleflora.

A photo I took at DisneyWorld

 The Bird of Paradise is native to South Africa.
It's botanical name is "Strelitzia reginae".
At first, botanists didn't know what to do with this odd flower!
It was once classified in the banana family because of it's leaves.
It didn't really fit.
They finally gave up, and gave it its' own botanical place!

a vintage hand colored engraving, 1840

Because the flower looks like a brightly colored bird in flight,
they gave it it's common name:

Bird of Paradise

Works for me!

painting by Johnny Karwan

Birds of Paradise Flower Meaning:
Birds of Paradise represent joyfulness and
[no surprise here]
They are also the 9th wedding anniversary flower!
Well, I agree. I think the Bird Of Paradise is a joyful flower.

Some Amazing Facts:

The plant will grow to a height and width of about five feet.
It has a trunkless, clump-forming pattern of growth.
The thick, stiff leaves grow to be
 about 6 inches wide
and 18 inches long.
The leaves are attached to a long stalk that sometimes reaches
5 feet high
Are you getting a picture in your mind, here?

found at   no photo cred

I just never thought of Birds of Paradise growing in

Okay, there's more!
On the same up to 5 feet high stalks, the flower is blossoming.
And what a blossom it is!
Modified leaves at the end of the stalk
form canoe-like structures,
4 - 8 inches long.
Out of the 'canoe' leaves the blossom is formed.

{Check them out, they have fantastic patterns!!}

As the flowers open, pointed petals of brilliant orange are contrasted with the arrow shaped 'tongue' of vivid blue.
Beginning in late winter/early spring the flowers will open
one right after another.
Unless you live in Disneyland,
where you can find Birds of Paradise almost year 'round.
It is a magical place you know...

There normally are 1 - 3 flowers on each stalk.

There was a very pretty photo of a Bird of Paradise here,
but the photographer became extremely upset when she saw
that I had used it in my blog.
So I have removed it.

What do you think?
Her copyright info and address of where to find it were on the photo,
and I put a note underneath "see photo for info".
Should I have done more?
Should I have not used her photo?
Let me know your opinion!!!

There are actually 4 different kinds of Bird of Paradise.
They are identified by their color.
The most common,
Orange Bird of Paradise
is the one we all think of.

The second one is the
White Bird of Paradise.
The thing that impresses me about this one is
It is even Huge-er!!!
[gotta' love those made-up words...]
So it grows 5 - 6 feet wide
and about 18 feet tall.
The leaves look about the same, only much larger.
18 - 24 inches wide
and 3 - 4 feet long.
The flowers are larger (10 - 12)
and white, with a light blue tongue in a purplish bract.

I didn't find very many pictures that looked very attractive!

The 3rd kind is called
Juncea Bird of Paradise.
It is a variation of the Orange Bird of Paradise,
but produces a smaller flower.
It also has leaf blades that do not develop!
The leaves rise up from the base, at the soil line
(instead of the 5 foot high variety!).
The flowers do grow on a stalk, just like the one we're familiar with, but again, smaller flowers.

Okay, last but certainly not least,
The Giant Bird of Paradise
Just when I was trying to get my head around how big the flowers are, the 5 foot tall stalks, the clumping...
now we have GIANT.
Probably not a good backyard garden type.
It can grow 30 feet high.
The trunk (think clump) can be 20 feet.
The leaves are identical to the White Bird of Paradise,
except they are attached to the trunk in a fan pattern
on opposite sides of the trunk.
The flowers are white with blue tongues and reddish-brown bracts
only about 18 inches long.
They can be difficult to see as they are so high up.

Ya' think??!!! photo cred Scott Bauer

Birds of Paradise are so striking.
They have inspired a lot of creative thinking in the arts.
Here is just one example:

Colleen Quen, the Queen
birdofparadisegown, califashionista

No photo cred - do you know? Let me know.
Birds of Paradise, not blooming yet

God's creations are so stunning!
Think about all the unique characteristics,
coloring, sizes and shape -
All that effort into just ONE flowering plant.
He made a whole lot more,
all unique and special in their own way.
Big Wow.

I hope you have enjoyed today's step into paradise.
Maybe you need to add a little
into your life today.
I bet the town florist just might have a bloom for you....

You can even go get that hula skirt from
my past blog on Hula!


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