Welcome to our new series, Tuesday Tidbits! Every other Tuesday we will be giving you some tasty nuggets of information pertaining to one of the many plants we grow as well as general plant care, landscape applications, history, and some horticultural science!
This week’s tidbit pertains to the inflorescences (complete flower structure) of the Heliconia genus. What is most commonly referred to as the flower is in reality the ‘bracts’, which is a term for a a modified leaf that holds the true flowers.
The bracts secrete a fluid that surround the developing true flowers (which are green in this picture). The fluid is believed to help repel damage to the flowers from insects.
The true flowers are specialized to allow for hummingbirds to drink the nectar in them and spread the pollen in its native environment. The brightly-colored bracts also help to attract hummingbirds.