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Bird of Paradise Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Bird of Paradise Flower Meaning and Symbolism

The Bird of Paradise is a unique, tropical plant with the meanings of paradise and joy. Other bird of paradise flower meanings are excitement, anticipation, thoughtfulness, love, and faithfulness. This flower is a fabulous gift for many occasions with an unmistakable appearance and pleasing smell. Keep reading to learn what does a bird symbolize.

About the Bird of Paradise Flower

There are five species of Bird of Paradise flowers grouped in the Strelitzia genus. They belong to the Strelitziaceae family.

The common name comes from the flower’s look resembling a bird’s head. It can also look like a tropical birds flying. 

History and Origin

This plant originated in South Africa, where it goes by the Crane flower. It prefers humid, warm climates. 

Bird of Paradise is the common name for Strelitzia reginae. Strelitzia comes from Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Queen Charlotte, named by Sir Joseph Banks. Queen Charlotte was the wife of King George III, ruler of England, when the flower was first imported.

Banks was the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, located in Kew, South Africa. The Bird of Paradise has grown in these gardens since 1773.  

Common Name

The Bird of Paradise is one common name. Another is the Crane flower. You may also hear it called the orange bird of paradise, the white bird of paradise, and the tongue flower.


Bird of Paradise flowers has three blue petals and three vivid orange petals that fuse into a single flower. 

The flowers produce a clean, fresh smell similar to tomatoes. As a relative to the banana tree, the Crane plant has evergreen leaves in a fan or paddle shape. However, the juncea species have spiky, bladed leaves that don’t fill out. 

Bird of Paradise Flower Care

Your Paradise plant will need warm temperatures, above 50℉, preferably in full sun. They also require fertile, well-draining soil.

Before planting, treat the soil with compost. Your Bird plants will require regular watering for the first six months – not too dry but not too wet. 

Once it’s established, you’ll need to water deeply through the growing season, drying the soil out each time. Fertilizing can start a month after you’ve planted it.

Uses Throughout History

One of the most popular uses for the Bird of Paradise is ornamental, being a popular cut flower for summer bouquets. They have a life expectancy of one to two weeks once clipped and put in a vase.  

This flower has also appeared in various forms of art throughout the years. And the Bird of Paradise is the Los Angeles, California city flower, appearing on the emblem and branding for the 1984 Olympics.

It’s also been used medicinally in South Africa to treat multiple conditions caused from bacterial pathogens, like UTIs (urinary tract infections). 

Bird of Paradise Flower Symbolism

The Crane flower has many meanings, some based on spirituality, and others founded due to the flower’s look.

And it also means faithfulness, given that most birds are monogamous. This flower is also for representing a ninth wedding anniversary. 

Another meaning for the Crane flower is a success. Whether it’s overcoming a problem in your personal life, a career problem, or congratulation yourself for something successful.


This flower’s name Crane is due to the resemblance to a long-necked bird with a tuft on the head and a colorful beak. The flower has a long stem with colorful pointy petals like the bird’s head. 

Because the flowers grow close together in groups, they look like a flock of tropical birds flying, which gives them the meaning of freedom. 

It also means opportunity (or the opportunity to find good fortune) due to being a South African native, where people once ruled each other but now are free with lots of available opportunities. 


Because these flowers thrive in a natural habitat of bright sunshine and have vibrant, energetic colors, the Bird of Paradise also means joy. It can boost your spirits and encourage you to have fun and relax like you would during a tropical vacay. 


These plants also represent uniqueness due to the one-of-a-kind look of the flowers. Some varieties of the Bird of Paradise can grow to heights of 20 feet, towering over most other flowers. Therefore, it also gets the symbolism of individual identity. 

It’s impossible to miss this flower in bloom, making it have the confidence to stand out from the crowd. Give this plant to someone embarking on a unique path and coming into their individuality. 


The tropical nature of the Crane plant also gives you a taste of paradise on Earth. It tells you to make your home a paradise by getting in the state of mind. Paradise isn’t a place. It’s a feeling.


In South Africa, the Bird of Paradise symbolizes royal lineage with ties to ruling families. Many empresses and kings from the past have used this flower as their royal symbol. 

Cultural Significance

You can find the Bird of Paradise flower featured in multiple fine art pieces. A popular painting, White Bird of Paradise, was completed by Georgia O’Keefe in the 1940s while in Hawaii. 

A play, The Bird of Paradise, released in 1912, popularized Hawaiian culture. This play followed the forbidden love story of an interracial romance between an American sailor and a Polynesian female. The play became a movie in 1932. 

Bird of Paradise Flower Color Meaning

The Bird of Paradise is most known for its stunning contrast of bold color combinations in three main colors – orange, white, and blue. Each color has a particular meaning.


Orange flowers are symbolic of happiness, boldness, and health. The color orange also means healing, vitality, and courage. The Svadhisthana – sacral (second) chakra – controls your gut instincts and health. 


Blue Crane flowers are symbolic of trust and health. You can use it for someone close to you who deserves your trust. 


White variants are a rarer plant, meaning purity and spiritual enlightenment. It can also represent reaching a higher spiritual ideal. And it can mean staying true to your faith or the paradise called Heaven – Nirvana.

Bird of Paradise Flower FAQ

Before you go, check out these frequently asked questions about the Bird of Paradise flower. 

When Should You Give Someone a Bird of Paradise Flower?

The most popular time to give someone a Bird of Paradise flower is to celebrate a ninth wedding anniversary. But it can also be a suitable gift for birthdays, graduations, promotions, or success. Or you could give it to someone leaving on a long trip.

What Does a Bird of Paradise Flower Tattoo Represent?

A Bird of Paradise tattoo is for someone who likes to be an individual and march to their own tune. It can also mean optimism, freedom, or joy. It’s the perfect tattoo for someone who lives authentically, not afraid to stand out.

Are Bird of Paradise Flowers Poisonous?

The Bird of Paradise is toxic to pets and should be kept away from cats and dogs. 

Are Bird of Paradise Flowers Annuals or Perrenials?

The Crane flower is a perennial plant commonly grown as a house plant or hothouse (greenhouse) plant. 

Final Thoughts

Nothing is more tropical or unique than a gorgeous Bird of Paradise flower. These multi-colored flowers that look like birds with wings spread out in flight have several powerful meanings. It can also mean excitement, anticipation, thoughtfulness, love, and faithfulness with joy and paradise.