Bird of Paradise Meaning and Symbolism

Bird of Paradise Flower Story & Origins

The bird of paradise flower meaning includes joy and paradise, as it is the quintessential tropical flower. It originates from South Africa, where it is also nicknamed the Crane Flower. This flower has been grown at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, South Africa since 1773. The scientific name for the bird of paradise is Strelitzia reginae, which was named by Sir Joseph Banks, who was the director of the royal gardens. He named genus, Strelitzia, after Queen Charlotte who was the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

The bird of paradise gets its name from the fact that its flower is made of three bright orange petals and three blue petals which are fused together into a single bud. As the flower blooms, each petal makes its debut and the resulting shape mirrors that of a tropical bird in flight.

Bird of Paradise Flower Meanings

Bird of paradise meanings include joyfulness and paradise, as well as anticipation and excitement. Other meanings include:

  • The bird of paradise represents faithfulness, love, and thoughtfulness — making it the perfect romantic gift.
  • In Hawaii, the bird of paradise grows wild and is a significant part of the culture. In Hawaiian, the name means “Little Globe” and represents magnificence.
  • The bird of paradise is the official flower for a ninth wedding anniversary.
  • Birds of paradise also represent having a good perspective on life.

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Bird of Paradise Flower Symbolism & Colors

The bird of paradise is known as the ultimate symbol of paradise and freedom. Due to its tropical nature, this flower also symbolizes freedom and joy. Although birds of paradise are best known for their bright orange and blue colors, their flowers can also be white.

Bird of Paradise Flower Cultural Significance

The bird of paradise is a very popular source of inspiration in fine art. Famous floral artist, Georgia O’Keefe, painted White Bird of Paradise during her time spent in Hawaii in the 1940s, and it is one of her most famous paintings from that time.

The Bird of Paradise was a play that came out in 1912 about a torn interracial romance between a Polynesian beauty and a young American sailor. The play popularized Hawaiian culture and was adapted for film in 1932.

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Bird of Paradise Flower Facts

  • The bird of paradise is closely related to the banana plant, which is evident in its similar-looking large fan-like leaves.
  • The giant bird of paradise, Strelitzia nicolai, is one of the largest species and can grow up to 30 feet in height.
  • In the wild, birds of paradise flowers are pollinated by sunbirds, regularly feed on its sweet nectar. When the bird lands on its petals, the pollen is transferred to the bird’s chest, which gets transferred to the next flower the bird lands on.
  • After cutting, the bird of paradise flower can last for one to two weeks.
  • Due to its toxicity, keep the bird of paradise flower away from dogs and cats.

Bird of Paradise Flower Uses

With a bloom time that ranges from March to October, birds of paradise flowers are popular cut flowers, especially for summer floral arrangements. They are a great way to add a color and exoticism to any bouquet or centerpiece and are popular in weddings.

The bird of paradise is an easy flower to grow in gardens where the climate is warm. They also make great plants to grow in greenhouses and sunrooms due to their preference for humidity. Potting the plant in  a container is also beneficial for flowering.

Dreaming about the tropics? Take a look at our tropical flower bouquets that include other exotic flowers such as colorful orchids paired with classic blooms such as roses and lilies.

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Sources:

www.gardenguides.com 1, 2  |www.proflowers.com  |  www.flowerinfo.org  |  www.kew.org  |  www.gardeningknowhow.com  |  www.hardytropicals.org  |  www.theflowerexpert.com  |   www.olukai.com  |  www.aspca.org  |  www.tcm.com