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Red bird of paradise plant care guide
The red bird of paradise (Amphiphanes redivivus), is a rare flowering tree and vine in the plant family Apocynaceae. The scientific name, Amphiphanes, means "winding", because of the way the flowers open. It is indigenous to the islands of New Caledonia, the Cook Islands, and parts of the southern and eastern Pacific Ocean. They grow best in semi-arid areas at altitudes between 800 and 1500 m (2700 and 4930 ft), and are usually found on dunes, limestone hillsides, and river banks. They are known for the extravagant long tubular flowers, the first red coloration of any non-rosaceous plant.
The red bird of paradise is a deciduous, evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 3 m (10 ft) in height. The alternate, simple, or branched leaves are ovate, 3 to 8 cm (1 to 3 in) long, and 1 to 3 cm (0.4 to 1.2 in) wide. The young leaves are green, while the mature leaves are a deep red.
The solitary flowers are produced from leaf axils, and consist of five sepals in two whorls surrounding a pair of petals. The flower is up to 20 cm (8 in) long, and consists of a nectary at the base and three lobes at the end. The two outer lobes are deeply divided into many spurs, while the middle lobe is not divided. The flower is yellow-green when new, becoming yellow-orange and finally becoming a bright red at maturity. The red bird of paradise is the first flowering species of the genus Amphiphanes, and has the first red coloration of any non-rosaceous plant.
The flowers attract insect pollinators such as bats, birds, and butterflies. These pollinators are responsible for cross-pollination, resulting in fruits that have two seeds.
Distribution and habitat
The red bird of paradise is endemic to the New Guinea highlands. The species is widespread in the foothills of the mountains in New Guinea and northern Papua New Guinea, where its natural habitat is sub-alpine montane forests. It is locally abundant and has been recorded from altitudes of 1,000 m to 3,000 m (3,000–9,000 ft), although the lowest reported altitude for this species is 500 m (1,600 ft).
Ecology and behaviour
The red bird of paradise has been observed in the wild on a range of substrates including moss, bark, soil, and leaves. It has also been recorded in bamboo thickets and under the canopy of primary forest.
The birds of paradise are thought to feed on nectar, pollen, and seed. The flowers are visited by bees and other insects, which disperse pollen to other plants, and by birds, including nectar-feeding species.
These birds of paradise are known to be solitary. Males are territorial, and will defend a large area. Females may nest in communal sites in larger ranges, with several males and females often foraging together.
Due to its wide distribution and the extent of habitat it has, the red bird of paradise is not considered to be in any threat to global extinction.
Category:Endemic flora of New Guinea
Category:Trees of New Guinea
Category:Taxa named by Carl Linnaeus
Category:Taxonomy articles created by Polbot