Out of South Africa, there came to the Royal Gardens at Kew a most curious plant. In 1773, Sir Joseph Banks, who was the unofficial director of the place, introduced this exotic tropical, naming the genus Strelitzia to honor Queen Charlotte, wife of George III and Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The plant was the bird-of-paradise or crane flower. S. reginae is now found around the world, as a popular cut flower sold by the millions and as an excellent container plant. In warmer climates, it can be found in many garden plantings, but in cooler zones, it should be planted in a container and moved indoors when frost threatens. Known for its unique form, its structure serves a purpose in how it spreads its pollen about. Two of the blue petals form a “arrow-like” nectary that opens to spill pollen on the feet of birds that land to have a sip of nectar.
This flower was photographed by Roger Sampson at Wood Bay in Auckland, New Zealand. Roger is a New Zealand photographer who describes his work as a hobby. “Nature is the star,” he says, “and I just expose nature.” You can find him on Facebook and YouTube.