Besides orchids, few flowers inspire more superlatives than Heliconias. These blooms scream tropical. Sometimes called lobster-claws, wild plantains, or false birds-of-paradise, their bizarre flowers have wild colors and shapes.

Heliconia flowers and leavesBrazilian Heliconia flowerHeliconia flower

Parrot Heliconia Heliconia flowerHeliconia flower

These remarkable blooms are actually small flowers encased in large, colorful bracts. Some varieties have flower spikes that grow more than 8 feet (2.4 m) long. Heliconia flowers can hang down, stick up, or have a horizontal direction. Many have zig-zags and twisty-turns that seem to defy the imagination.

Heliconia flowerColombian HeliconiaVery long flowers of a Colombian Heliconia

Heliconias are banana and ginger relatives, and it’s no surprise that they’re hummingbird favorites. They’re native to jungles of tropical America and some Pacific Islands. These photos show plants growing in a rainforest climate at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. In colder areas, some Heliconias can be grown outdoors as container plants, and moved indoors for winter.

Heliconia flowerHeliconia flowersHeliconia flower

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5 Comments on “Heliconias”

  1. Laura H Says:

    Those are absolutely breath taking! They don’t even look real so I’ll just take your word for it (and of course your photos are great proof!)

  2. Hanley Says:

    Sometimes I see these at the florist but I never know what they are. Thanks for the post and the pretty pictures too!!!

  3. TimMx Says:

    thanks for the photos

  4. nancy Says:

    they’re so bizarre that they don’t even look real, but I’ve seen them at the florist so I know they are. I’ve never seen this many varieties of them. Thanks 🙂

  5. JM Reeves Says:

    Stunning! those are really fantastic flowers. I see them sometimes at the florist, so its great to see them growing wild.