Strelitzia Down

Yesterday morning we discovered that our Strelitzia nicolai (Giant Bird of Paradise) took some heavy damage.  So what?!?  …did one of those big raccoons fall on it?  Hum…

Strelitzia nicolai - Bird of Paradise Tree

Leaves from the Strelitzia nicolai – Bird of Paradise Tree

So below is the last photo of our plant (it’s the dead center one that looks a little like a banana plant).  We originally bought this Strelitzia off of Craigslist about 2 years ago for dirt cheap…the guy bought the wrong plant and couldn’t return it.  You see S. nicolai is the tree version of its shrubbier and more common cousin…Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise).  Also known as Giant Bird of Paradise, it grows about 2-4 times taller and would have made a good screen in the corner of the garden.

Last time we documented the happy Strelitzia nicolai

Before – Strelitzia nicolai

So back to the mystery.  Megan checked it out the damage and quickly saw a bunch of dirt mounded near the base…and that she could easily pull out each leaf stalk.  That’s not good.  Normally you need a pruning shears to cut out the stalks cuz their so fibrous.

Strelitzia nicolai ...Missing

After – Strelitzia nicolai …Missing

Strelitzia nicolai - Bird of Paradise Tree

Yeah, those mounds of dirt are all too familiar in our yard and garden.  In the detail below, you can almost make out the chewing marks from our Enemy #1…the evil pocket gopher.

Stalks from the Strelitzia

Stalks from the Strelitzia

I didn’t think it possible, but I hate those little furry creatures even more. So what to do?  We refuse to poison the gophers.  Why?  There are a lot of hawks & owls in the area and each of those birds of prey can eat 10s to 100s of gophers, rats, etc in a single year.  If they eat one poisoned gopher…the bird dies…and that’s just plain bad news.  (and yeah…we’re a little lazy and/or confused about trapping them).  So on to the bright side.  Hey, more room for more plants!

– Far Out Flora

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