Friday, April 21, 2017

Lobster Claws

If you look closely, you will see that these flowers are filled with water, like little spiky cups. This is a species of the genus of Heliconiaceae and the family of Heliconia. This particular plant is growing the Costa Rican jungle. There are currently about 100 different species of Heliconia. Here is a description of the family from Wikipedia: Heliconia.
These herbaceous plants range from 0.5 to nearly 4.5 meters (1.5–15 feet) tall depending on the species. The simple leaves of these plants are 15–300 cm (6 in-10 ft). They are characteristically long, oblong, alternate, or growing opposite one another on non-woody petioles often longer than the leaf, often forming large clumps with age. Their flowers are produced on long, erect or drooping panicles, and consist of brightly colored waxy bracts, with small true flowers peeping out from the bracts. The growth habit of heliconias is similar to Canna, Strelitzia, and bananas, to which they are related.The flowers can be hues of reds, oranges, yellows, and greens, and are subtended by brightly colored bracts. The plants typically flower during the wet season. These bracts protect the flowers; floral shape often limits pollination to a subset of the hummingbirds in the region.

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