Description: Herbs or tree-like monocots, forming large clumps over time.
Leaves sheathing at base, usually large, channelled on the adaxial face, rarely reduced to a bladeless petiole.
Inflorescence a cincinnus of flowers within a boat-like spathe on a peduncle arising from the leaf axis; sometimes secondary inflorescences produced from the axis of the first; flowers zygomorphic; sepals petaloid, the lowest boat-shaped towards its base, attenuate above, keeled; lateral sepals attenuate; petals more or less free, the two lower connivent and forming a more or less sagittate blade, with a central channel containing the stamens and style; the third (uppermost) petal much smaller; stamens 5; style with 3 linear stigmatic branches.
Fruit a rather woody capsule; seeds few, globose, with a woolly aril.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 5, native to southern Africa ; Australia: 1 becoming naturalised in NE NSW and coastal Qld.
There are two smaller clump-forming species of Strelitzia, S. reginae and S. juncea, and three arborescent species, S. alba, S. caudata and S. nicolai. All may be in cultivation here, as well as cultivars of these species.
Text by K. L. Wilson
Taxon concept: RA Dyer (1976) Genera of Southern African Flowering Plants vol. 2
|One species in NSW: Strelitzia nicolai|