This striking plant, with its scarlet bracts, can be found in the East Tropical House.
This native of Venezuela, Surinam, Ecuador and Bolivia is a variable species ranging from 60 cm to 4 m in height. It is a rhizomatous perennial with glossy, arching leaf-blades and wine-coloured midribs and leaf stalks. The erect inflorescence grows to 30 cm in length and comprises two ranks of up to 10 orange-red bracts with green tips, which lend themselves to the common name lobster claws. In each of these bracts can be seen the slender white-tipped green flowers, which have three petals and three tepals. Heliconia stricta is one of 100 evergreen species belonging to the Heliconiaceae, or Musaceae (banana) family as it is sometimes referred.