Heleconia is a tropical plant that has about 89 species and about 350 varieties which 98 percent is native to the tropical Americas. The plants can be dwarf and grows to 1 1/2 foot, and some are tree like and grows up to 30 foot high. Here in Hawaii most heleconia grow wild and invasive at times. The flowers comes in a variety of colors, reds, oranges, whites, greens, yellow and pinks. I liked the reds and the yellows, I actually did a painting of them. The cut flowers of heleconia if properly cared for can last up to a month on a flower arrangement. The heleconia flowers are main attraction in the farmer’s market here in Hawaii.
The flowers of heleconia comes in two forms, erect and pendant. The one in the picture is considered erect and the variety is called Bihai. The orientation of the bracts are pointing upwards. The lobster claw on the other hand would be pendant because of the way it is hanging from the plant and drooping. The leaves of the heleconia are similar to bananas that they were considered as family of bananas except they don’t produce fruits. The rhizomes of the heleconia are the ones being planted. In some cultures the rhizomes are used as medicine.