flowers that look like birds

Flowers That Look Like Birds: 5 Bird of Paradise Species

Landry Zoya 

Discover the Different Varieties and Learn Helpful Care Tips

Flowering plants commonly known as bird of paradise belong to two entirely different plant genera. Despite their shared name, these species have unique characteristics and originate from diverse environments. In this article, we will explore five bird of paradise species from the Strelitzia and Caesalpinia genera, and discuss how to care for them.


Bird of paradise plants are toxic to humans and animals.

Bird of Paradise Care Tips

Caesalpinia Bird of Paradise

When grown outdoors, Caesalpinia bird of paradise varieties thrive in part shade. As houseplants, they require abundant light, ideally from a sunny window. Protect them from temperatures below 50°F (10°C) and mist in very dry conditions.

Strelitzia Bird of Paradise

Strelitzia bird of paradise varieties can grow up to 6 feet tall and prefer bright light and high humidity. Maintain temperatures above 60°F (15°C) and mist frequently if growing them indoors.

5 Bird of Paradise Species

1. Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

Native to South Africa, this bird of paradise variety is also known as the crane flower. With long, leathery leaves and a flower composed of orange sepals and blue petals, it resembles a bird’s head and crown. Blooms can appear up to 25 times per year.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-12
  • Mature Size: 40–48 inches
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loamy

2. White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai)

A larger species native to South Africa, the white bird of paradise has white sepals and a bluish-purple tongue. Its gray-green leaves resemble those of a banana tree.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9–11
  • Mature Size: Up to 20 feet; up to 7 feet as a houseplant
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, moist

3. Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)

Also known as pride of Barbados or peacock flower, this evergreen shrub is native to the arid regions of the tropical Americas. It blooms with red-orange flowers and has prickly stems, making it an effective barrier plant.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9–11
  • Mature Size: 10–20 feet
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, moist

4. Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana)

birds of paradise

Originating from northern Mexico, this broad-leaved evergreen tree has yellow flowers and is more cold-tolerant than the red bird of paradise.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 8–11
  • Mature Size: 10-15 feet
  • Light: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, tolerates poor soil

5. Yellow Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii)

The yellow bird of paradise, also known as poinsiana or bird of paradise bush, is a shrub-like form native to Argentina and Uruguay. It has fern-like leaves, and red or yellow azalea-like flowers that bloom in July and August. The seeds are expelled when the pods dry out, making this plant easy to self-seed and naturalize in surrounding areas.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 8–11
  • Mature Size: 7–10 feet
  • Light: Full sun but tolerates some shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, tolerates rocky soil

Bird of paradise plants in the Strelitzia or Caesalpinia genus are generally easy to grow in warm climates as ornamental plants or indoors in colder areas. Their stunning flowers, whether resembling bird heads or bearing azalea-like blooms, make them eye-catching additions to any garden or home.

For those interested in other unusual tropical plants like bird of paradise, consider lobster claws (Heliconia) and bromeliads. These plants might just be among the easiest and most visually striking tropical houseplants to grow.

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