Heliconia rostrata

Heliconia rostrata, the hanging lobster claw or false bird of paradise, is a herbaceous perennial plant native to Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Ecuador, and naturalized in Puerto Rico.[2] Other heliconias grow in an upright position (e.g. Heliconia bihai), their cup-shaped flower bracts storing water for birds and insects. This plant, however, has downward-facing flowers, the flowers thus providing a source of nectar to birds.[3][4]

Heliconia rostrata
Heliconia rostrata 4.jpg
Lobster claws flower.jpg
Lobster claws flower at peak season, Udumalpet,India
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Heliconiaceae
Genus: Heliconia
H. rostrata
Binomial name
Heliconia rostrata
Ruiz & Pavon
  • Bihai poeppigiana (Eichler ex Petersen) Kuntze
  • Bihai rostrata (Ruiz & Pav.) Griggs
  • Heliconia poeppigiana Eichler ex Petersen

Heliconias are known to those who grow them as a host flower to many birds, especially the hummingbirds. Because of its unique characteristics, it is often used as a specimen for tropical gardens.

Along with the Kantuta flower, Heliconia rostrata, known as patujú, is the national flower of Bolivia.



  1. ^ The Plant List, Heliconia rostrata
  2. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Heliconia rostrata
  3. ^ Ruiz López, Hipólito & Pavón, José Antonio. 1802. Flora Peruviana, et Chilensis 3: 71, t. 305, Heliconia rostrata
  4. ^ Brako, L. & J. L. Zarucchi. (eds.) 1993. Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru. Monographs in systematic botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 45: i–xl, 1–1286.