Strelitzia reginae is a species of evergreen tropical herbaceous plant, native to South Africa. Given its own family Strelitziaceae by taxonomists, it is still closely related to bananas (Musaceae). Many often mistakenly call this plant for the “banana tree” because it looks like banana plants. These regal plants (for which they are named, reginae) are named for the beautiful, orange crane-like flowers that they produce, like birds of paradise. They are known for bright orange-blue colors, however, there are also white birds of paradise. Under the right conditions, including full, southern light exposure, proper humidity, and temperature, Bird of Paradise may flower indoors, although this is rare.
The split leaves that give the Bird of Paradise its bird-like morphology is scientifically believed to be purposeful leaf tearing or lobing of leaves to reduce drag in the wind. They have evolved to create splits along their lateral leaf seams to allow the wind to pass by. In doing so, they eliminate the risk of being snapped in half by a strong wind.