Heliconia chartacea

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Heliconia chartacea
Heliconia chartacea.JPG
Specimen at Asa Wright Nature Centre, Arima, Trinidad and Tobago
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Heliconiaceae
Genus: Heliconia
H. chartacea
Binomial name
Heliconia chartacea
Lane ex Barreiros

Heliconia chartacea is a species of Heliconia native to tropical South America (Brazil, Venezuela, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Ecuador and Peru).[1]


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.[2][3][4][5][6]


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.


Several cultivars have been selected for garden planting, including 'Sexy Pink' and 'Sexy Scarlet';[7][8][9] these flowers are widely used for Flower Decorations and Ikebana.


  1. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Species, Heliconia chartacea
  2. ^ Barreiros, Humberto de Souza. 1972. Revista Brasileira de Biologia 32: 205–207, Heliconia chartacea
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Funk, V. A., P. E. Berry, S. Alexander, T. H. Hollowell & C. L. Kelloff. 2007. Checklist of the Plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 55: 1–584
  5. ^ Hokche, O., P. E. Berry & O. Huber. (eds.) 2008. Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela 1–860. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela, Caracas.
  6. ^ Kress, W. J. 1997. A synopsis of the genus Heliconia (Heliconiaceae) in Venezuela, with one new variety. BioLlania, Edición Especial 6: 407–430, Heliconia chartacea var. meeana
  7. ^ My Nice Garden, Gardening in Malaysia, Heliconia chartacea, Sexy Pink Lady
  8. ^ Daves Garden, PlantFiles, Pink Flamingo Heliconia, Heliconia chartacea 'Sexy Pink'
  9. ^ Shailesh Nursery, Kohalpur, Maharashtra, India, Heliconia chartacea Sexy Pink/