Description: To 3 feet, trunkless, clump-forming; leaves oblong-lanceolate, to 1.5 feet long, six inches wide, acute, glaucescent beneath, the blade sometimes reduced; bracts green, edged with purple or red, to 8 inches long; flowers orange or yellow with dark blue tongue.
The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges is termed the spathe. This is placed perpendicular to the stem, which gives it the appearance of a bird's head and beak; it makes a durable perch for holding the sunbirds which pollinate the flowers. The flowers, which emerge one at a time from the spathe, consist of three brilliant orange sepals and three purplish-blue petals. Two of the blue petals are joined together to form an arrow-like nectary. When the sunbirds sit to drink the nectar, the petals open to cover their feet in pollen.2
Uses: Commonly used as a cut flower in the florist trade.
Culture: Can be grown as a houseplant in a tub with a minimum night temperature of 50F. Propagated by suckers, division and seeds.