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Family: Heliconiaceae
Size: Height: 1 ft. to 18 ft (depending on varieties), Plant Category: perennials, Plant
Characteristics: seed start, Foliage Characteristics: evergreen,
Foliage Color: dark green, green, Flower Characteristics: long lasting, showy, unusual, Flower
Color: greens, oranges, reds, whites, Tolerances: heat & humidity.
Bloom time range: mid spring to mid summer. USDA hardiness zone:11 to 11 AHS heat zone: not
defined for this plant.
Light range: part shade to part sun. pH range: 5.5 to 6.6 soil range: some sand to loam. Water
range: normal to moist.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS : These originated in the tropics of the Americas through the Pacific
islands and west towards Indonesia. The inconspicuous, yellow flowers emerge from claw-shaped
bracts on magnificent, up to 3 feet (0.9 m) long, pendent, zigzagged inflorescences. If pollinated
by hummingbirds or nectivorous bats (neither of which are found here in Hawaii), the flowers
are followed by violet fruits. The leaves are simple, alternate, long-petioled, and have green,
lanceolate leaf blades that are easily shredded by the wind. The pseudostems (formed by the leaf
sheaths) emerge from underground rhizomes.
This genus of flowering plants includes one to two hundred different species.
The flowers sprout up from the group of leaves that are quite similar to that of a banana plant.
The Heliconias flowering bracts can range in color depending on the variety and in shapes.
Some shapes are called pleated fan, birds beak, or lobster claw.

Some of Heliconia varieties are:

Heliconia Angusta other names for this variety is Red Holiday or Red Christmas due to the
fact that it blooms at that time of the year. It had reddish pink bracts with white and green
tinted sepals. This plant is one of the smaller varieties growing to only 2 to 4 feet. This plant
needs up to 80% shade. These also grow well in containers.
Heliconia Bourgaena (also called Peterson) this has bracts that are pink, crimson, and red
and a black distal lip. The main stalk and shoot are deep purple in color. These reach heights
of 4 feet 18 feet and require full sun to about 50 percent shade. This one is very bold in
its quality and known to be rare.
Heliconia Bihai (or Yellow Dancer) this variety is a bit showy with its golden yellow bracts
that are shaped like a lobster claw and green keel. This species is known to be a vigorous
one and usually reaches heights of 5 feet to 14 feet.

Heliconia Caribaea (also known as Purpurea) This has a large bract in fact one of the
largest in the Heliconias. These bracts are vibrant yellow, red, and green on their distal lip.
The leaves are like that of a banana plant. The stems the surfaces of lower leaves have a
waxy white coating. It grows to a height of 7 feet all the way to 20 feet. Can tolerate full
sun all the way to about 60 percent shade. It blooms from February through November.


General characteristics:
Family :Fabaceae (alt. Mimosaceae), legume family, Subfamily :Mimosoideae
Distribution: Native to northern South America, and now naturalized throughout the tropics.
Size : Typically reaches 1525 m tall with a broad grown typically 30 m (100 ft) in dia.
Habitat : Grows best in the lowlands from sea level to 300m with rainfall 6003000 mm
Vegetation: Naturally occurs on savannahs and in deciduous forests and riparian corridors.
Soils: Adapts to a wide range of soil types and pH levels.
Growth rate: Moderately fast growing with growth rate of 0.751.5 m/yr (2.55 ft/yr) per
Rain tree (Samanea saman) is easily recognized by its characteristic umbrella-shaped canopy.
When grown in the open, the tree usually reaches 1525 m (5080 ft) in height with a canopy
diameter wider than the tree is tall. Rain tree is most important in the Pacific as a shade tree
on small farms, along roads, in parks and pastures.

Life span
Rain tree is long-lived; 80100 years is average
Physical and Visual characteristics:
Rain tree has a distinctive, umbrella-shaped crown. The crown is typically broad and domed; the
horizontal spread is greater than the height when grown in spacious, open settings. Under
plantation conditions, the crown is more vase-shaped.
The tiny flowers (1225 per head) are massed in pinkish heads 56 cm (22.4 in) across and
about 4 cm (1.6 in) in height. The long, bicolored stamens (white in lower half and reddish
above) give the whole inflorescence the appearance of a powder puff or feather duster held
slightly above the foliage. Thousands of heads are borne at the same time, covering the tree in
pinkish bloom.
Leaves are alternately arranged along twigs and have a prominent swelling (pulvinus) at the
petiole base; stipules are present and threadlike; the leaf blades are twice-even pinnately
compound. During dry periods trees are semi-deciduous, losing their leaves for a short period.
Where there is a definite dry season, they may remain leafless for a period of weeks but
refoliate quickly if there is adequate moisture. This gives the appearance that rain tree is
evergreen in moister climates.
Home gardens:
Rain tree can be used in home gardens as a shade tree and for the multiple products it
provides, but its immense size limits its use in most urban areas.