Update as of 2 Dec 2009
The heliconia are small flowering plants closely related to the banana. They have similar long flat leaves, waxy on the top with prominent and grooved central veins, moisture laden smooth stalks or stems and propagate by their tubers. These tropical plants can very quickly become conversation pieces in any garden, primarily because of their inflorescence. The flowers of this plant, like the banana plant, grow at the top end of the plant and owing to its weight (in relation to the flimsy plant) actually droop downwards. A bud slowly unravels many more and these alternating buds take their place vertically down with their characteristic, artistic and almost unreal 2 dimensional “banana hand” look. The colours are striking red with hints of green and yellow underlining it and with the parrot green leaves as backdrop, these flowers can never go unnoticed. The heliconia rostrata is also sometimes referred to as the coral plant, because of the red colour of the flowers, or the Chinese firecracker plant – because of the resemblance of the inflorescence to the typical red and green firecrackers that are so popular in India, and elsewhere too. The plants need shade and enough moisture to flourish, but are hardy and easily tended to inexpensively keep a garden elegant and pretty.
The D Street gardeners had tended their gardens quite well and the heliconias were quite visible today; hanging downwards on an otherwise green plant, with reds alternating with green. The D Boyz were excited to see a “strange” flower in their midst and studied it quite intently before starting their day’s work, and it showed. They are keen learners and good reproducers – the green SENSEX opened 120 points up, showed its red streaks as it also dipped to -20 by 12 noon, then got back into the green and reverted to the red territory at 1 pm, and kept this alternating exercise on till the day ended 28 points down at 17170. While the D Boyz saw more red flowers, they did not forget the evergreen plants that they grew on and so closed for business in mixed minds.
Typically most flowers grow upwards, including many heliconia, as well (the famous flaming orange and purple stalky flowers commonly used by flower decorators, sometimes referred to as Bird of Paradise Flower is also a heliconia), roses, ixora, lotus; there are some like the sunflower that blossom sideways; and of course “heavy flowers” like the banana, and the heliconia rostrata, grow drooping downwards and some light ones like the Indian Laburnum that flood us with their yellow blossoms in April, join this category.