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IUCN: not evaluated
Family: HELICONIACEAE Genus: Heliconia Species: standleyi Species Author: Macbr.
Heliconia x nickeriensis grows from 1.2-3 m in height. The various Heliconia species have one of two types of leaves; those with very short leaf stalks (petioles) that look a little like ginger leaves and those with long leaf stalks that look a little more like banana leaves. The leaves of Heliconia x nickeriensis are the second type with long petioles and leaves that have many conspicuous veins that run from the midvein out to the leaf margin. The inflorescences (flower clusters) of this species are erect and the boat shaped bracts that enclose the flowers are red with yellow to orange with yellow margins. In cultivation this species flowers from May to November. Individual Heliconia flowers are 3-parted with 3 green sepals, 3 yellow petals, 6 stamens and an ovary in 3 parts. In all Heliconia species five of the stamens produce pollen and the sixth is sterile.
(Maas, P.J.M. and M.J.M. de Rooij. 1979. Acta botanica neerlandica 28(1): 91)
In cultivation plants such as Heliconia are often grown from stem cuttings that are known as rhizomes. Rhizomes are underground stems that allow a plant to spread out and form large clusters of plants that are genetically identical. These undergrounds stems grow out from the parent individual and are able to form adventitious roots at intervals along the stem. After these roots have formed vertical shoots are produced that form a new above ground structures. These rhizomes allow Heliconia plants to grow in dense clumps and because these plants are all attached underground will often flower simultaneously within these clusters.
The only known parent of this hybrid, Heliconia x nickeriensis has a native range in Suriname and Guyana and was first described in the botanic literature by Maas and de Rooij in 1979. This species is one of 10 species found in the Guianas and one of only two species that is endemic to this region, the other being H. dasyantha. This species is in widespread cultivation.
(de Granville, J. 1986. Phytogeographical characteristics of the Guianan rainforest. Institute of Systematic Botany. Symposium Tropical Botany: Practice and Principles. September 28-October 4. Royal Dutch Football Association Center, Zeist, Netherlands.)
The generic name Heliconia was first assigned to this taxa in 1793 by Carolus Linnaeus in Genera Plantarum. The genus is named after Mount Helicon in southern Greece, the location of the springs, Aganippe and Hippocrene, that were sacred to the Muses and therefore considered to be the source of poetic inspiration.