Bird of paradise, sometimes just called bird (Strelitzia regina), is a flower from South Africa. It is available all year, but may be in short supply in the summer.
Birds of paradise have five to seven inch orange and blue flowers that rise up and open one at a time from a red and green boat- or bird-shaped bract. The stems are two to four feet long. Birds are heavy and need good support.
When arranging long stems, either fill a container with chicken wire or use a tall, narrow container and weight the bottom. The water level should come one-third of the way up the stem. When arranging on pin holders, the pins should be heavy and firmly attached to the bottom of the container.
To condition, remove the foliage, cut off the ends of the stems, and put them in warm, deep water.
This flower was named after Queen Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, wife of George the Third and mother of 15 children.