|Specimen at Asa Wright Nature Centre, Arima, Trinidad and Tobago|
Lane ex Barreiros
Heliconia chartacea is a herbaceous plant, with paired large oblong leaves like those of the banana. It can grow to 7–8 m in height, and plants can form large clumps with age. The flowering stems are pendulous. The bright pink color of the flower bracts is rare among heliconias, making it very easy to identify. The conspicuous pink part of the large and showy hanging inflorescences is actually the waxy bracts, (modified leaves), with the small green true flowers half-hidden inside. It has blue-black fruits that contain 3 very hard seeds, which are capable of extended dormancy in the soil. The fruits are eaten by a variety of birds, including tanagers and thrushes.
Heliconia chartacea is a common upland species of disturbed sites, young secondary forest, and abandoned cultivation, and is often found near human habitation. It is pollinated by hermit hummingbirds, whose curved beaks are well adapted to probe the curved flowers for nectar, their main food source. Some species such as the rufous-breasted hermit also use the plant for nesting.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Species, Heliconia chartacea
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- Brako, L. & J. L. Zarucchi. (eds.) 1993. Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru. Monographs in systematic botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 45: i–xl, 1–1286.
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- Daves Garden, PlantFiles, Pink Flamingo Heliconia, Heliconia chartacea 'Sexy Pink'
- Shailesh Nursery, Kohalpur, Maharashtra, India, Heliconia chartacea Sexy Pink/