Outer_Seed_Shadow-02-Heliconia_Zane_Rudolfo

Country of origin: Trinidad & Tobago
Plant: Heliconia

Heliconia is a genus of about 40 different species of flowering plants principally native to the tropical Americas, with a few indigenous to certain islands of the western Pacific and Maluku, mostly found in rainforests or tropical wet forests of these regions. Common names for the genus include lobster-claws, wild plantains or false bird-of-paradise.

The leaves of this plant are paddle-shaped, with beak-like leaf-structures called bracts (mistaken for flowers), which can be orange, purple, red, yellow, pink, green or a combination of these. The heliconia’s actual flowers are tiny and found inside these bracts, which are so large and colorful that they almost hide the flowers altogether. This keeps the flower’s sweet nectar tucked away so that only specialized birds, primarily hummingbirds, and some butterflies and bats can access it.