It is strange which flowers the potted plant trend is currently producing.

Suddenly I discover greens in shops and restaurants that one had to feel sorry for as early as the 1970s, I just say


or bow hemp.

Its leaf rosettes typically gathered dust on the window ledge and were grilled by the heater underneath in winter.

Or braised, depending on the pouring routine.

Sonja Kastilan

Responsible for the “Science” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

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That these plants survive years of abuse is a miracle, only to be surpassed by the flower stars of the porcelain or wax flower (

Hoya spec.

), Which inspired me as a child with beautiful regularity. What was the tough thing that was wound vertically into a wreath. I am amazed that their resilient loops are not yet experiencing a revival, in contrast to other, from the outset lifeless accessories for interiors such as dried flowers. With a porcelain flower I could get weak if I had more windows, accordingly cornices, but instead I am toying with a space-filling purchase that would be a zoo and botanical garden in one pot, but easier to care for: a

Strelitzia reginae

or the large-leaved

S. nicolai

which, like all five species, normally thrive in southern Africa and are currently promoted as houseplant on the relevant pages.

I first encountered the bird of paradise flower in the seventies, when Toast Hawaii was a specialty - not just for children - and fresh lychee a discovery, even if I can't get anything from it then as now, so pale.

With the Strelitzie, on the other hand, it was love at first sight, and I never tire of watching the exotic, whose family falls under the


, the ginger-like: how her orange or white splendor unfolds in contrast to blue is a spectacle that is reminiscent of the Vogelbalz.

Queen Charlotte - yes, the one from "Bridgerton"

With the difference that with the cut flowers, gentle force is necessary to pull the next blossom out of the bract, so that a beak with a corolla is in the vase. So should I dare bigger things and, for reasons of sustainability, pull a swarm in the bucket? There would also be movement in the booth when a touch triggers the folding mechanism, which even inspired researchers at the University of Stuttgart to create flexible flat structures: Flectofin is what they call their system, which is now used to shade facades; modeled on the Strelitzia, which uses kinematic forces to give a bird looking for nectar a portion of pollen. To me, it would be like keeping casual, colorful pets. Without crap. And somehow of nobility: that the British botanist Sir Joseph Banks found a plantwhich Francis Masson brought from South Africa in 1773 in honor of his Queen Charlotte

Strelitzia reginae

can be found on the pages of the "Kew - Royal Botanic Gardens", where the queen and mother of 15 lived for years on the first floor of the "Dutch House" aka Kew Palace (and died in 1818).

Sophie Charlotte, Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was born in Mirow in 1744, was born in 1761 through her marriage to Georg III.

not only Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, but made a name for herself as the “Queen of Botany” and benefactress.

She was educated and would probably have been interested in finding out that Strelitzia use bilirubin, a dye that is more familiar from the animal kingdom: as a breakdown product of the blood pigment hemoglobin, which makes bruises shimmer yellow.

But the biliverdin-IXα of

S. reginae


S. nicolai

, chemically a tetrapyrrole, was not discovered until the 21st century.

In addition to carotenoids and anthocyanins, it complements their color spectrum, but how these higher plants form bilirubin is puzzling.