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Balisier (Heliconia schiedeana) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Christophe Joulin
Balisier (Heliconia schiedeana) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Christophe Joulin

Lobster-claws

This species, Heliconia schiedeana, native to Central America, is one of the rare species of this genus that can grow outdoors in southeastern France.

Identity Card

Common name
Lobster-claws, wild plantains, false bird-of-paradise
Binominal name
Heliconia schiedeana Klotzsch

Taxonomy

Kingdom
Plantae
Family
Heliconiaceae

Detailed Informations

Area of origin
Central America, Southern Mexico

Etymology

Heliconia is named after Mount Helicon, sacred mountain of the Muses in Greek mythology. The species name schiedeana is in honour of Wilhelm Schiede, a German doctor and naturalist.

Description and flowering period

It is a fast-growing herbaceous perennial reaching from 1.5 to 3 meters in height. The leaves are oblong, persistent and reach up to 1.5 meter in length. The inflorescence is hard and ramified and composed of large red bracts bearing yellow flowers (bracts are modified and specialised leaves encountered at the flowers’ base).

Habitat

It requires a rich, fertile, water-retentive soil and a part-shade location in a subtropical climate. It tolerates strong winds but the leaves and stems die in case of prolonged frosts. If so, new leaves will emerge the following spring from underground rhizomes (underground stems).

Uses:

  • Ornamental. Cut flowers are also widely used in flower arrangements.
  • Traditional craftsmanship: The leaves are used to make thatched roofs or as ties.

Translated by: François Saint-Hillier – MNHN

Balisier (<em>Heliconia schiedeana</em>) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Christophe Joulin

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