The gardens of Costa Rica are filled with a wonderful variety of tropical flowers, but some of my favorites are those of Heliconias, such as this almost artificial-looking inflorescence of a Heliconia rostrata.
Heliconia rostrata is commonly known as False Bird of Paradise, Hanging Heliconia, or Lobster Claw. It is native to northwestern South America, but it is commonly grown in tropical gardens throughout the World because of its exotic beauty.
The relatively inconspicuous flowers emerge from plump, red and yellow bracts and are pollinated by hummingbirds. Heliconia rostrata blooms in late spring and early summer, and its pendulous, waxy inflorescences can last for weeks on the plant. The plants grow to about 8 feet (2.4 m) tall and look quite similar to banana plants.