Heliconia bihai

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Red palulu
Heliconia caribaea (in Costa Rica).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Heliconiaceae
Genus: Heliconia
H. bihai
Binomial name
Heliconia bihai
(L.) L.

Heliconia bihai (red palulu) of the Heliconiaceae family is an erect herb typically growing taller than 1.5 m. It is native to northern South America and the West Indies. It is especially common in northern Brazil and the Guianas but also found in Hispaniola, Jamaica, the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Venezuela and Colombia.[1][2] Other names by which the plant is commonly known include balisier[3] and macawflower.


This plant is used as an ornamental plant in hot regions with a humid climate (USDA zone 9-11), and is typically pollinated by bats and hummingbirds.[4]

This upward facing flower of the Heliconia family, which acts as a cup, is a natural source of rain water for birds and insects.

Use as a symbol[edit]

This plant is used as the symbol to represent the People's National Movement political party of Trinidad and Tobago,[5] as well as by the Martinique Progressive Party (Parti Progressiste Martiniquais) of the French Overseas Department of Martinique, in the West Indies.


  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Heliconia bihai
  2. ^ (in Portuguese) Checklist das Plantas do Nordeste (Checklist of Plants of Northeast Brazil): Heliconia bihai
  3. ^ "HELICONIACEAE Heliconia bihai" at Plants For Use.
  4. ^ (in Portuguese) Lorenzi, H.; Souza, M. S. (2001) Plantas Ornamentais no Brasil: arbustivas, herbáceas e trepadeiras. Plantarum ISBN 85-86714-12-7
  5. ^ Ferreira, Ferdie (28 November 2011). "PNM and the balisier, the symbol of fertility". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Archived from the original on 11 October 2019.

External links[edit]

Heliconia bihai flower closeup.JPG