Bird of Paradise Names – Scientific, Latin, Botanical and Common Names

Strelitzia is a group of plants that originated in South Africa. They are known for their attractive foliage and unique, colorful flowers that resemble a bird in flight. They belong to the plant family Strelitziaceae.

Common name

The common name for a Strelitzia is Bird of paradise. The Bird of paradise gets its name from its appearance.

The flower consists of 3 bright petals on top and 3 petals below, which all fuse together, forming a single bud.

As the flower begins to bloom, the petals spread out, causing the plant to resemble a bird in flight.

The etymology of the genus name

The name of the plant’s genus, Strelitzia, comes from the Queen whom it was named after—Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The flower has been grown at the royal botanical gardens in South Africa since 1773.

The Strelitzia was named by Sir Joseph Banks, who was the director of the botanical gardens at the time. Queen Charlotte was said to be a plant enthusiast herself, and the plant was named in her honor.

The word ‘reginae’ means queen in Latin, which seems quite fitting, given who it is named after.


Kingdom-Plantae: Refers to all plants.

Subkingdom-Tracheobionta: Refers to plants that are classified as vascular plants.

Superdivision-Spermatophyta: Refers to seed plants.

Division – Magnoliophyta: Refers to plants that are Flowering plants.

Class – Liliopsida: Refers to plants that are monocotyledons.

Subclass – Zingiberaceae Order: Zingiberales.

Family – Strelitziaceae: Refers to the Bird of Paradise’s five species.

Genus – Strelitzia Aiton : Bird of paradise.

Ecology of the Bird of paradise

In nature, sunbirds eat and then disperse the seeds around their natural South Africa. It is particularly popular with gray and yellow sunbirds. They consume the pollen from the spathe of the plant, pollinating the plants as they visit to drink their nectar.

Both Vervet and Samango monkeys have been seen feeding on the soft part of the flowers as well as on the orange tufts that can be found on the plant’s seeds.

Another animal that is fond of munching on Strelitzia plants is the blue duiker.

Smaller animals like frogs and even ducks have been seen sheltering in the clumps of plants that grow along rivers for protection.

Strelitzia Species

There are five species of Strelitzia. They are as follows:

Strelitzia reginae

Bird of paradise, Crane flower, Kraanvoelblom, Isigude

The most well-known Strelitzia is Strelitzia reginae. The evergreen leaves resemble large, stiff paddles, while the bright orange and blue colors stick out at the top of long stalks. Its flowers resemble birds in flight when open, which is how the plant got its common name.

It is often referred to as a crane flower, Kraanvoëlblom, or Isigude.

Mandela’s gold

A yellow variant of the Strelitzia reginae, known as ‘Mandela’s Gold’ exists but is much rarer. The requirements to keep this plant happy are the same as for the Strelitzia reginae.

Strelitzia nicolai

Wild Banana, Natal Wilde Piesang, Igceba, Ikhamanga

This species of Strelitzia is known for its large, shiny leaves and less for its flowers. The nicolai is a fast-growing species and can grow up to 12 m tall and spread out as far as 4 m.

It produces big, glossy leaves. The flowers are less impressive and are dull black and white.

The Strelitzia nicolai is seen along the coast, beginning in East London and extending into Mozambique. It is sometimes called the ‘Wild Banana’ due to its resemblance to a banana tree when it boasts split leaves.

It is called the Natal Wildepiesang, Igceba, and Ikhamanga locally.

Strelitzia caudata

Transvaal wild banana, Wildepiesang, isigude sase

The Strelitzia caudata closely resembles the Strelitzia alba. The petals of the caudata, however, are a light blue color.

The caudata is found in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in South Africa, as well as in bordering countries like Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

It is sometimes referred to as the Transvaal wild banana, Wilde Piesang, or Isigude sase.

Strelitzia alba

White-flowered Wild Banana tree, Kaap Witwildepiesang, Isigude esimbalimhlophe

The Strelitzia alba is also rare and found very sparsely around the Garden Route and within the province of the Western Cape.

It is often found near rivers, with the gray-green unbranched plant growing as tall as 10 m.

Strelitzia alba is sometimes called the White-flowered Banana thanks to its white flowers and leaves resembling those of a banana tree. It is also referred to as a Kaap Witwildepiesang or Isigude esimbalimhlophe.

Strelitzia juncea

Rush leafed Strelitzia

The Strelitzia juncea is also a rare variety of Strelitzia, making it more sought after. While the flowers, which appear during the warmer months, look the same as on the Strelitzia reginae, the leaves are slightly different.

The leaves of the Strelitzia juncea are very narrow, appearing upright and cylindrical. This plant is sometimes referred to as the ‘Rush-leafed Strelitzia ’due to its shape looking similar to rushes.

When sunbirds perch to drink from the spathe of the plant, their weight causes it to open. Pollen lands on the bird’s feet as a result.

When the sunbird visits the next spathe, the pollen is deposited onto it.

In areas that don’t have sunbirds to assist with pollination, they will generally need hand pollination.


The Bird of paradise is commonly grown for its striking flowers and aesthetic, large, green leaves. The plant is often potted and kept on the patio or indoors as a statement piece.

It is a popular landscaping choice thanks to its drought tolerance capabilities and full-grown size. The plant takes 3-6 years to establish itself, with blooms only becoming possible once the plant has exceeded 3 years of age.

Other characteristics of a Bird of paradise

The Bird of paradise is a popular houseplant, and it’s easy to see why. If you’re not already in love with its sensational foliage, and minimal fuss care, read on to see some additional characteristics of the Bird of paradise.

Drought resistant

The Bird of paradise is considered to be a water-savvy plant that, once mature, can be considered drought tolerant. This is thanks to its tuberous root system, which stores water for the plant, allowing it to survive for long periods without being watered.

Wind resistant

The Bird of paradise has large leaves with veins. When exposed to wind, the leaves tear along the splits.

The tearing that takes place in the leaves is an adaptation that protects the plant from harm. Splits allow the wind to safely pass through the leaves without causing any damage to the plants.

If these splits did not form, then it’s likely the plant would tip over, or the stems could suffer damage and end up bending or breaking.

Although considered wind resistant, the Bird of paradise will become untidy looking if continually exposed to wind.

If you are keeping the plant for its aesthetic value, consider placing it somewhere that experiences no wind.

Sea spray resistant

Another characteristic of the Bird of paradise is that it is salt spray resistant. This means if you live by the coast, this plant won’t be bothered too much by receiving an occasional mist coming off the ocean.

Potentially damaging roots

The plant does have a pretty fast-growing root system. That of the nicolai species is considered invasive. Planting near buildings, boundary walls, or pavements should be avoided because the roots can cause extensive damage, breaking through concrete with apparent ease.

Disease and pest resistant

The Bird of paradise is considered both pest and disease-resistant. Although it rarely comes under attack, if you do discover your plant has a pest infestation, it will likely be a sap-sucking insect.

To get rid of these, pick up some neem oil at your local nursery. Follow the directions for use as instructed on the bottle for the best results.

If you need some extra help determining which disease or pest issue you have, you can take a look at this helpful guide.

In conclusion

The Bird of paradise makes a great addition to any household. Its large size makes it stand apart from most other house plants, demanding your attention as you enter the room.