Hanging lobster claw

Heliconia cf. rostrata (Heliconiaceae)

Characteristics

Evergreen, perennial herb, up to 2 m tall. Leaves large, banana-like, leathery, dark green. In spring and summer, showy flower clusters (inflorescence) hang from the stem. Each inflorescence is made up of bright red bracts, each tipped with yellow and green, with yellowish-white flowers inside. The inflorescences last for weeks and are excellent in flower arrangements.

Distribution

Native to Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Costa Rica and Ecuador, in lowland forest and thickets. Naturalized in Puerto Rico. Currently, this is often used as a specimen for tropical gardens around the world.

Natural Medical Properties

No known.

Did you know?

Other Heliconias (e.g Heliconia cf. psittacorum, #82) grow in the upright position and their cup-shaped flower bracts store water and nectar for birds and insects. This plant, however, has downward-facing flowers. The plant can still provide nectar to birds, especially hummingbirds.

“Hanging lobster claw” is the national flower of Bolivia.

Further reading:

Literature

World Flora Online
WorldChecklist of Selected Plant Families
A working list of all plant species