Strelitzia juncea, the rush-leaved crane flower, is an evergreen perennial reaching heights beyond 1,5 m and spreading as widely. A monocot herb, the plant grows a rush-like tuft of many stems from a mass of fleshy roots. An earlier name of the species, S. parvifolia var. juncea, recognises the small early leaves; parvus meaning small in Latin. The plant generally resembles S. reginae in growth habit.
The stiff, straight and leafless stems represent the defining characteristic of the species. Poker-like and cylindrical, without leaf blades or merely tiny, narrow ones, always much reduced and on young plants, only the bare stems remain on mature plants. These stems serve well as leaf substitutes in photosynthesis, rendering leaf blades redundant.
The species has a small distribution range around Uitenhage and towards Gqeberha and Patensie. This specimen was seen in November in the Caledon Wildflower Garden.
The habitat is thicket, dry riverine slopes where succulents are common. The species is considered vulnerable in habitat early in the twenty first century, due to illegal plant collection, quarrying and invasive alien vegetation (Bond and Goldblatt, 1984; Eliovson, 1984; www.plantzafrica.com; http://redlist.sanbi.org).