Heliconia psittacorum Hybrids
The Lady Di, Golden Torch, Strawberries and Cream
and many more!
Welcome to the world of hybrid Heliconia!
Many collectors turn out to be purists. If it doesn't have a scientific name they don't collect it. I am only sort of a purist but I'm more a collector. It is rare to be able to find a true "species" orchid on the market today since the import and export of many species has been banned. Species Heliconia are legal but the fact you're more likely to a hybrid is certainly just as true.
Hybrid species that began with H. psittacorum are extremely common. What most of us know as Heliconia psittacorum doesn't look anything like the actual species. I don't have a "species" H. psittacorum in the collection. But I do have several hybrids.
The ‘Lady Di', named after Princess Diana, Golden Torch (inset left) and the Strawberries and Cream (inset right) originated from the same plant: P. psittacorum. Through careful cross pollination and selective breeding plant growers, like several I know in Puerto Rico, have come up with some beautiful variations of the original. Each grows to approximately 4 feet and the inflorescence (flower), which is made up of parts called bracts, feels almost like plastic. One major advantage is the inflorescence is very long lived and can last on the plant for long periods, even months. They are also beautiful as cut flowers. An added advantage is the beauty of the plant's leaves which resemble a miniature banana. Since it loves the sun it is a great patio plant, even in colder climates. Just bring it indoors for the winter.