Did You Know…?

Heliconia rostrata.

This plant gets its name because its brightly colored inflorescence somewhat resembles sets of lobster claws connected by a slim, loose rope. Each “claw” is actually a special, modified leaf called a bract, and several yellow-green flowers develop within and protrude a short distance when mature and ready for pollination. Unlike the upright inflorescence of the giant red heliconia, the Lobster Claw Heliconia’s inflorescence is pendant. So, certain Heliconias produce erect inflorescences, while others produce pendant inflorescences.

As with the giant red heliconia, each leafy shoot only produces one inflorescence, after which it dies back to the rhizome at its base and needs to be removed to keep the plant looking nice. It takes about six weeks for its inflorescence to “bloom out” from the time when it emerges from the upper end of the leafy shoot. Also, its peak bloom occurs in mid-summer; very few, if any, shoots bloom during the winter months.

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