Strelitzia reginae, commonly known as the crane flower or bird of paradise, is a species of flowering plant indigenous to South Africa. An evergreen perennial, it is widely cultivated for its flowers. In temperate areas, it is a popular houseplant.
The distinctive Strelitzia (bird of paradise) is one of the best known of all the tropical flowers and is a cousin to the banana. Surprisingly, the bird of paradise is easier to grow than many tropical plants. The plant is a vigorous, rapidly growing indoor plant. It can be moved outside in the summer, and in warmer climes, it thrives for half the year outside. Bird of paradise typically flowers in the late winter or early spring, but under optimal conditions, it flowers at other times. There are five Strelitzia species, but only two are grown as indoor plants: Strelitzia reginae (the orange bird of paradise) and Strelitzia nicolai (the white bird of paradise). These plants grow with upright leaves emerging directly from the soil; there is no trunk. The large leaves range between 12 and 18 inches long, and they can shred when exposed to windy conditions or when brushed in a busy hallway.