Strelitzia nicolai – Musaceae (South Africa, Zimbabwe)
Habit: Large perennial, 8-10 m tall, up to 5 m wide, like bananas, in tree-like groups, forming stem from old petioles.
Flowers: Boat-shaped, bent upwards, blue, waxy bracts from which the blue and white flowers emerge; up to 5 in the axils of the upper leaves, late autumn to spring.
Fruit: Tripartite, lignifying, up to 7 cm long capsules with bright orange, woolly seed cases.
Leaves: Slender-ovoid, rounded at the base or cordate, fresh green, petiole up to 2 m long, densely toothed margin, like banana leaves.
Demands: Full sun, semi-shade to shade, needs protection, sensitive to the cold, temperate or warm house, needs wind protection.
Natural habitat: Loamy, moist, nutritious, well drained soil.
Hardiness: Zone 11