The bright coloured flowers are eye-catching even in isolation. Heliconia rostrata is an exotic plant that bears flowers that are called the ‘Lobster Claw' and in a more descriptive name the ‘False-bird-of-paradise'.
It is a herbaceous plant native to the north-western region of South America. These flowers lining a compound wall for a stretch of 40 feet have become a big attraction in the city. A sudden increase in the number of inflorescences in this season has been attracting plant lovers from all over to come and enjoy the pleasant sight.
The compound wall full of Heliconias did not happen overnight. Retired Railway eye specialist Paladugu Venkata Krishna Rao has painstakingly grown the plant along the compound wall of his house near Penamaluru police station.
Lover of plants
A lover of plants, Dr. Rao and his wife had plants wherever they lived in the country. They collected this Heliconia plant in Kolkata and brought here with a host of other plants in a pot. From a small pot the plant under the care of Dr. Rao today occupies most of the garden in the house.
Flowers of the Heliconia plant are pollinated either by birds or bats. The flowers pollinated by birds are brightly coloured and those pollinated by bats are dull in colour. Heliconia rostrata along with one other species are unique because their flowers hang and humming birds are known to drink nectar from them.
“The flowers make me very happy because they are like ever fresh thoranams,” Dr Rao said. Heliconia rostrata is one of the national flowers of Bolivia.