Bird of Paradise

A beautiful and prominent flower here in NZ. It is also called the Crane Flower and is a native of South Africa. There are apparently only five species and they all developed in the wild (no human mutations). They grow from rhizomes or underground stems that can reach up to 1.5 metres high.
It is a stunning, yet complicated flower to look at with it’s two pointed petals and five stamen and truly looks like a bird in paradise. I have seen a black flower that is simply gorgeous. Thier colours usually contrast in pairs; bright orange and purple or gold and dark blue.
It is listed as a toxic plant, yet has been used in some cases to relieve itching and treat swollen glands. It will cause nausea and vomiting if taken incorrectly, so please do not  experiment with this plant and seek professional advice.
Symbolises freedom and beauty in South Africa and Royalty and ruling in the United Kingdom dating back to King George III.
A great gift for adults who have everything: farewells, promotions, thank you or sticky situations. It is the floral gift for a 9th Wedding Anniversary. Looks striking in bouquets and arrangements for elderly with minimal eyesight.
Disclaimer: This article is written from my view as a keen gardener and florist for many years. Plant origin and medicinal values are a compact compilation of my research and gift ideas eventuated and are related to NZ lifestyle and celebrations.