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Recommended Readings

Heliconia an Identification Guide

by Fred Berry and W. John Kress


Heliconia, large tropical flowers native to Central and South America and some islands of the South Pacific, have become favorite horticultural subjects throughout the world. Many cultivated varieties are available from florists as cut flowers or potted plants in regions where they cannot be grown outdoors and others are commonly used as ornaments for landscaping in the tropics.

Fully illustrated with color photographs that capture the reds, yellows, greens, and pinks of long-lasting heliconia blooms, this field guide is the definitive source for easy and efficient identification of 200 species, varieties, hybrids, and cultivars of the genus Heliconia. Botanical and horticultural names are given for each species, along with a brief description of morphological features, blooming time, habitat, and geographic distribution.

Tropical Flower Cultivation: The Heliconias

by Bryan Brunner


Continuing where the "Heliconia Bible" by Fred Berry and John Kress left off in 1991, this book offers a comprehensive review of heliconia cultivation, not only in the tropical garden but also in subtropical and even protected temperate regions. Completely bilingual (English/Spanish), it covers topics such as taxonomy, botany and ecology, propagation and culture, genetic improvement and cultivar nomenclature, cut flowers, other uses for heliconias, and more.


Specialized tables present information such as valid and invalid Latin names, heliconia species distribution by country and altitude, light requirements and cold hardiness of different species, flower production, and postharvest vase life. Detailed descriptions and color photos describe 66 species and nearly 300 different heliconia cultivars currently growing in Puerto Rico, including 144 cultivars that have never before been described and 56 new cultivars that were selected on the island.

The Genus Heliconia Linnaeus in Photos


The species are organized according to "Preliminary classification of Heliconia based on Kress (1984, 1990a, b, unpubl.) and Andersson (1985a,b, 1992)" in The Heliconia Society Bulletin 7 (1/2):5-6, November 1994. The photos were taken by Ray Baker, Eleanore Burson, Suzan Harada, Robert Hirano, Sharon Ishikawa, Masuo Moriwaki, and Ken Nagata. Nativity was taken mostly from Berry, F. & W. J. Kress (1991) Heliconia- an Identification Guide, and Kress, W. J., J. Betancour, & B. Echeverry (1999) Heliconias- Llamaradas de la selva colombiana.who you are.

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