Return to the Key
Hutch., Fam. Fl. Pl. 2: 72. 1934.
The three genera and seven species of the family, Strelitzia (five species), Ravenala (one species), and Phenakospermum (one species), are restricted to southern Africa, Madagascar, and South America, respectively. Unique features of the Strelitziaceae are the woody trunk (absent in some members of Strelitzia), the bird-like appearance of the inflorescence and flowers, and the woody, capsular fruit. The popular birds-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae and Strelitzia nicolai) and traveller's palm (Ravenala madagascariensis) are commonly grown as landscape and greenhouse ornamentals. Strelitzia was named to honor Charlotte Sophia of the family Mecklenburgh-Strelitz, who was the wife of King George III and a patron of botany.