Meet The Plants
- IUCN: not evaluated
- USFWS: None
Species Author: Lam.
The flowers of this species are actually highly modified leaves and bracts in the shapes of a lobster claws and a deep, rich red color. Heliconia caribea has two arcs of air canals in leaf axis, raphide sacs, five fertile stamens, lateral stamens of inner and outer whorls fertile and no perisperm. Height is 9 to15 in. Foliage is banana like with waxy white coating on stems and lower midrib.
Heliconias have become increasingly popular as decorative flowers, especially in those regions where they cannot be grown in the garden. Heliconia are grown for their beautiful, brilliant colorful flowering bracts. They require bright light and are heavy feeders of any well balanced fertilizer. (Kepler, A. K. 1999. Exotic Tropicals of Hawaii.) (Information for this species compiled and recorded by Camelia Cirnaru, NTBG Consultant.)
Although these large tropical flowers are natives to only Central and South America-the Amazon rainforest- and some islands of the South Pacific, their easy cultivation and spectacular presence have made them favorite garden subjects throughout the world. (Kepler, A. K. 1999. Exotic Tropicals of Hawaii.)
In the American Tropics, hummingbirds are the exclusive polinators of red, yellow , pink and orange heliconias while nectar feeding bats are the polinators of green heliconias. (Kepler, A. K. 1999. Exotic Tropicals of Hawaii.)
Although Heliconias flourish in the humid lowland tropics at elevations below 1500 feet, surprisingly, the greatest number of species are found in middle elevation rain and cloud forest habitats. The most remarkable members of the genus inhabit open sites in secondary growth along roads, riverbanks and in patches of light in the forest. (Kepler, A. K. 1999. Exotic Tropicals of Hawaii.)