Heliconia, derived from the Greek word Helikṓnios, is a genus of flowering plants that are native to the tropical forests. All have bold leaves and showy flowers. Several species are widely cultivated as ornamentals and are known by common names like lobster-claws, wild plantains or parrot flowers.
Large, brightly hued bracts that cluster up a stem have inconsequential tiny flowers in their axils. Flower bracts are arranged in terminal racemes, which may be held erect or pendulant.
The plants grow and propagate from underground rhizomes, which can be broken apart and used to start a new plant.
The heliconia family, Heliconiaceae, is most closely related to the gingers and bananas.