The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Crane Flower

Afrikaans name: Kraanvoëlblom

Crane Flower

Crane Flower

Photo © Steven Herbert

Strelitzia reginae

The Crane Flower is one of South Africa’s most beautiful flowers. In fact, the natural distribution is restricted to the eastern coast of South Africa from KwaZulu-Natal to Humansdorp. They can be found in sunny areas as well as partly shady areas such as the edge of forests.

It is known by several other names such as the Bird of Paradise or Strelitzia, with the latter being commonly used in South Africa. It is a popular plant in gardens and parks around the world. Various varieties of this popular flower have been developed in cultivation. Although they do not naturally occur on the highveld of South Africa they are probably the second most common plant in gardens with Agapanthus being the most popular.

It can grow to a height of over 1.5 metres and can take up to 5 years before it starts flowering. The leaves are long and a bit like a banana plant. Crane Flowers prefer sunny areas and tend to flower between May and December. The flowers appear at the end of long stalks and are stunning. They make good cut flowers for the vase.

Crane Flower

Photo © Steven Herbert

This plant has been used for several purposes. Portions of the flower have been used to make a treatment for venereal disease and gland inflammation. Colour pigment can be extracted from the petals.

References and further reading

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 396

Indigenous Garden Plants of Southern Africa - Author: Glenice Ebedes - Published: 2017 - Page: 112

Sasol First Field Guide to Wild Flowers of Southern Africa - Author: John Manning - Published: 1999 - Page: 24

The Gardener - 2021/06 - Author: - Published: 2021 - Page: 23

What Flower is That? Summer - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1971 - Page: 8

The Gardener - 2015/11 - Author: - Published: 2015 - Page: 35

Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa - Author: John Manning - Published: 2009 - Page: 48

Gardening with Indigenous Shrubs - Author: David and Sally Johnson, Geoff Nichols - Published: 2002 - Page: 100

Discovering Wild Flowers in Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Sima Eliovson - Published: 1969 - Page: 64

A Photographic Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa - Author: Braam van Wyk - Published: 2000 - Page: 69

A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 46


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