Love is in the air at the National Museum of Natural History! Our scientists are helping species look for love in this series of “dating profiles” to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Will #NMNHcupid help them find their one and only?
Screen name: RedFlame
In gardens and nurseries, I go by several names such as: Black Magic, Blush, Flame, Flash, Gold, Hot Flash and Red Flame.
Species: Heliconia caribaea
Age/ orientation/ sex: 96 Million years old (quite young for a flowering plant), upright, dioecious
Location: Caribbean West Indies
Height: I am tall and slender, reaching up to 15 feet tall, with a breadth of up to six feet.
Body Type: I am an upright herb with bright, blue fruits. I have long, dark green, banana-like leaves and my colorful bracts hold and showy flowers, perfect for attracting my ideal pollinator.
Diet: I can be found in part sun/part shade areas of Caribbean islands. I like to stay hydrated, but I prefer well-drained soil and am on a low-sodium diet to look my best!
My self summary
I am an herbaceous, evergreen plant that tends to grow in gregarious clumps. I prefer light breaks and soil disturbances within tropical forests. My bracts create their own ecosystems. My peak flowering time is between April and May. That is when I need my pollinators, the male Purple Throated Carib hummingbirds (Eulampis jugularis).
What I'm doing with my life
I can reproduce by seed and by rhizomes but prefer to produce seeds.
I'm really good at
The first thing people usually notice about me
My long showy leaves which can be up to 4 feet long. Bats love to build nests under my leaves.
As long as my roots are firmly planted and I get water, I do just fine.
I think a lot about
My pollinator, the male Purple Throated Carib hummingbird (Eulampis jugularis) is the only creature for me.
3 Things I could never do without
Without the PTC, I cannot produce seeds.
I need that bird.
I really need that bird!
On a typical Friday, you’ll find me
Swaying my leaves to the wind
The most private thing I'm willing to share
I produce very colorful inflorescences. In the right conditions, my bracts can range from light yellow to red and even various shades of green.
I'm looking for
A male Purple Throated Carib to include me in his territory. I can treat him with my sweet flower nectar.
By Ida Lopez , Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History