The bird-of-paradise flower (Strelitzia reginae), a member of the family Strelitziaceae, is native to South Africa but cultivated throughout the world for ornamental uses. It is pollinated by sunbirds, which perch on the stiff petals, feed from the nectaries inside, and spread pollen from flower to flower via their feet. A cultivar, ‘Mandela’s Gold’, features brilliant canary-yellow sepals.
This design is modular and requires four squares of paper: one green, for the spathe and upper stem; one yellow-orange (canary yellow for the Mandela’s Gold cultivar) equal in size to the green sheet, for the sepals; and two violet-blue, each 1/4 the area of the other two sheets, for the petals.
Note: This design is very adaptable, and I encourage you to experiment free-folding the sepals from multiple sheets of different sizes and shapes (triangles work well!), and also varying the number of petal units per flower head; this will allow for a more organic appearance.
- James Lucas
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jslucas [at] wustl.edu
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