My first Heliconia …

Anyone who lives in the tropics will think this event is quite ho-hum, but for me it’s quite exciting.  For the past three weeks I’ve been watching the development of my very first sub-tropical heliconia flower.

I had begun to give up hope of mine ever flowering, but finally here it is, helped no doubt by the unusually long warm autumn we are having.

Resident insect
Resident Helicona insect

Last night the temperature dropped to 6C, so I don’t like my chances of seeing the remaining heliconias open, but I’m very happy with my very first flower.

More Heliconias to come?
More Heliconias to come?

And there are some other sub-tropical plants blooming at the moment – the Cat’s Whiskers, Brazilian Cloak, Champagne Ginger and the ever crazy Costa Rican Butterfly vine.  Not bad considering Winter officially starts in only six days!

The crazy Costa Rican …

Now, I have to admit that the Costa Rican Butterfly Vine was one of my most optimistic-masochistic purchases.  It was an impulse buy, I actually bought it for its attractive leaves, and I really didn’t expect it to survive its first winter.  But amazingly it did.  So I was quite pleased when the first flower appeared …

Then more flowers appeared, what a bonus I thought …

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Then I zoomed in on the actual flower hiding behind the purple bracts …

The front view
The front view

Oh My God, it looks like something someone on an acid-trip would dream up …

The rear view
The rear view

Apparently the yellow ball is a resin gland which is attractive to bees, who use it to build their hives.  This is another bonus as I am expecting my native bee hive to arrive any day now and I’m hoping that Aussie bees like Costa Rican resin!