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Nicolai - Strelitzia Nicolai This plant is not palm it is commonly know as a Bird Of Paradise and comes from sub-tropical South Africa and is well suited to planting in a Balinese/Thai style or garden and it always compliments palms with its wide green leaves. It is native Natal Province, Mozambique and the name Nicolaii is for Tsar Nicolos I, the Emperor of Russia. It looks similar to a banana tree but is not related. Blooms occur most of the year depending on where you live, the flowers are about 30cm long, light blue to grey with a white feather like crest that sticks up similar to a cockatoo's crest. These flowers are similar to the more common "Regia" Bird of Paradise that is smaller than the Nicolai and bright orange flowers instead of white. This plant is large growing to a height of 10-12 metres and clumps (multiple trunks will form at the base), therefore needing space away from solid objects. It can be used indoors in a container and is drought tolerant also tolerates salty winds and handles 8 degrees c. Severe frosts will do harm, it is suited for Melbourne and Western Sydney. It is unarmed with no spikes or serrations.