Strelitzia reginae has begun blossoming in the warm subtropical climate of the TSU Botanical Garden greenhouse complex. The perennial plant's name commemorates the British Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III and grandmother of Queen Victoria. Its colloquial names are “bird of paradise” and “crane flower”, with the latter being extensively used in South Africa. These names resemble the blossoming parts of the flower that look like heads and beaks of otherworldly, heavenly birds with colorful crests.
“Strelitzia reginae is the official flower of the City of Los Angeles and unofficial symbol of South Africa,” says the director of TSU Botanical Garden, Mikhail Yamburov. “Some of the petals have bright orange coloring—to attract nectar birds. Each flower has lower blue petals acting like perches, which birds land on to feast on the sweet nectar. Birds land on the petals, causing anthers to open up, and the sticky anther dust gets glued to a bird's legs: that way birds transfer the dust to other plants.”
This year's flower has a unique type of flower-bearing stem blossoming on it with two simultaneous inflorences, which is not typical for this species. The Garden's staff affectionately call them Zita and Gita. This year, ten stems are expected to blossom from February until April.
You can admire the crane flower by visiting a tour around the TSU Botanical Garden on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.
The tickets can be purchased for 300 rubles (full price) and 200 rubles (discounted price).