Heliconia psittacorum: Parrot’s beak

Family: Heliconiaceae
Common name: Parrot’s beak, Parrot heliconia, Lobster claw, Parakeet flower, Parrot’s flower, Toucan beaks, Wild plantains, Parrot’s plantain, False bird-of-paradise

Parrot’s beak is a tropical flowering plant native to Central and South America, widely cultivated for its showy flowers which are used in cut flower arrangements.

The plant grows to an average height of 2-6 meters, with sturdy but green stems and large, oval leaves that can reach up to 60 cm in length.

Flowers are made of brightly colored bracts that can range in color from yellow, pink, orange, to red. The bracts are often arranged in a downward-facing position, giving the inflorescence the appearance of a parrot’s beak or lobster claw.

The actual flowers of the plant are small, usually yellow or white, and are located in the center of the bracts. These plants are capable of self-pollination since the flowers contain both male and female reproductive organs.

Parrot’s beak plants are ideal garden plants since they bloom well in spring and summer covering the garden with flaming flowers of red and orange. They can be grown as hedge plants or as center pieces drawing butterflies and insects that help pollinate them.

Parrot’s beak plants are tolerant of poor soil and weather fluctuations, but they need regular watering. The plant produces rhizomes which elongate and produce more plants around the parent plants.

Propagation can be easily done through rhizomes which can be split into multiple new plants. Once established, the plant is relatively low maintenance and can be grown in a variety of soils, as long as they are well-draining.

Parro’s beak is a fast-growing plant and will reach maturity within 2-3 years. The plant should be grown in full sun or partial shade, with partial shade being preferred in hot climates.

It is also important to ensure that the plant has adequate water and fertilization, as this will help to promote healthy growth and abundant blooming.

These plants are primarily grown for its ornamental value and is often used in cut flower arrangements, as well as in landscaping and garden design. The plant is also sometimes used in traditional medicine, as some believe that it has medicinal properties.

Propagation is through rhizomes or seeds.