Afrikaans name: Kraanvoëlblom
The Crane Flower is one of South Africa’s most beautiful flowers. In fact, the natural distribution is restricted to the eastern coast of South Africa from KwaZulu-Natal to Humansdorp. They can be found in sunny areas as well as partly shady areas such as the edge of forests.
It is known by several other names such as the Bird of Paradise or Strelitzia, with the latter being commonly used in South Africa. It is a popular plant in gardens and parks around the world. Various varieties of this popular flower have been developed in cultivation. Although they do not naturally occur on the highveld of South Africa they are probably the second most common plant in gardens with Agapanthus being the most popular.
It can grow to a height of over 1.5 metres and can take up to 5 years before it starts flowering. The leaves are long and a bit like a banana plant. Crane Flowers prefer sunny areas and tend to flower between May and December. The flowers appear at the end of long stalks and are stunning. They make good cut flowers for the vase.
This plant has been used for several purposes. Portions of the flower have been used to make a treatment for venereal disease and gland inflammation. Colour pigment can be extracted from the petals.
References and further readingA Photographic Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa - Author: Braam van Wyk - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 69
First Field Guide to Wild Flowers of Southern Africa - Author: John Manning - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 24
Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 396