Strelitzia reginae Aiton ‘Mandela’s Gold’

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Mandela's_gold_strelitzia_(Strelitzia_reginae_Aiton_'Mandela's_Gold'_)_-_Flickr_-_Lip_KeeStrelitzia reginae ‘Mandela’s Gold’ is a rare yellow form of the well-known crane flower, Strelitzia reginae.

Yellow-flowering strelitzias have been known for a number of years, plants have cropped up in France, California, Australia, Japan and in South Africa at a few locations in Eastern Cape and at Kirstenbosch and the Karoo Desert National Botanical Gardens, but always as isolated specimens. Left to their own devices, the seeds from these yellow forms will not breed true as they will most likely have been pollinated by an orange plant. To get yellow progeny, two yellow plants must be crossed. At Kirstenbosch in the 1970’s, there were seven yellow plants in the nursery. John Winter, who was curator during this period, began a project to increase the stock. It took nearly twenty years of careful selection and hand-pollination, and in 1994 the original stock had been built up enough to enable us to introduce the yellow strelitzia to horticulture. It was released and traded under the name ‘Kirstenbosch Gold’ until 1996 when the NBI was granted permission to re-name it in honour of Nelson Mandela.

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