What is the plant
Heliconia species grow as large, evergreen , perennial herbaceous plants . They usually form short-branched, rarely runners-forming rhizomes that store starch. Usually only an unbranched "pseudostem" is formed, which emerges from the overlapping leaf sheaths. The aboveground parts of the plant are often hairy. The foliage leaves , mostly alternate and two-lined, arranged only at the base or also distributed on the stem, branch off parallel from the median nerve and are differentiated into leaf sheath, petiole and leaf blade; in some species no petiole is recognizable. At the end of each "pseudostem" a very large, decorative, racemose entire inflorescence is formed, which is composed of several monochasic zymous , few to many-flowered partial inflorescences . There are types with hanging and those with upright inflorescences. The most attractive are the flashy colored spoon-shaped bracts (bracts), which can be up to 2 meters long. There are keeled cover sheets. The hermaphrodite flowers are zygomorphic and threefold. All six bracts are fused tubular at their base. The three sepals and two petals are still fused above this flower tube. A petal is also free at the base. There are five fertile stamens and a scaly staminodium per flower . The fertile stamens are fused with the basal tube. Three carpels have become an under constant ovary grown into an ovule per ovary chamber. There are septal nectaries . The elongated, thin style ends in a cephalic or three- or rarely two-lobed stigma. The flowers of the bird-pollinated species are very rich in nectar and sometimes fragrant.
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