In this Strelitzia reginae flower the almost cylindrical spathe is pale blue, clasping the emerging orange flower parts appearing to attempt escape from the spathe’s hold. Higher up, the angled dark blue, paired petals appear small compared to the banner-like orange sepal towering over it. Further behind, away from the spathe tip, some withering older flower parts are receding.
The spathe is positioned at nearly a right angle to the stem, allowing Strelitzia flowers to stand upright as if on a platform or stage. A spathe may be up to 20 cm in length; its colour variations on different plants interesting to compare.
Flowers bloom in sequence, emerging one by one from the tip side of the clutching spathe. As they age they make way towards the base of the spathe, pushed back by the vigour of the next flower needing centre stage.
Flowering peaks by midsummer to early autumn, but may last much longer during the year and there may be seasonal differences for plants cultivated in different climates (Manning, 2009; www.plantzafrica.com).