This small version of the heliconia is related to the banana, cannas, and ginger. They grow from an underground system of rhizomes. Rhizomes are a type of root; the ginger that you buy in the supermarket is a piece of rhizome from the common edible ginger plant. This heliconia has huge, deeply veined green leaves that grow along narrow vertical stalks, which grow tall and upright. What most people would call the ‘flower’ is actually a group of colorful specialized leaves, called bracts. The actual heliconia flower doesn’t bloom when the bract develops, but later in its lifespan. The true flowers are hidden inside these beautiful orange and red bracts, which are often tipped with dark green. The bracts look like parrot’s or parakeet’s beaks, giving the flower many of its common names. They bloom repeatedly during the spring and summer; autumn and winter growth is not as prolific, but they do bloom all year long, providing they receive enough light.
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