Mandela’s Gold

It seems appropriate to offer this photo – taken Wednesday this week in an Omokoroa garden created by a plant lover, full of interesting things.

Photo: Sandra Simpson

Strelitzia reginae Mandela’s Gold was originally known as Kirstenbosch Gold. The naturally occurring yellow form of the orange bird-of-paradise was found in the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, as well as other places around the world. However, it cross-pollinated with the orange readily and seeds would produce the orange form. Read more about how John Winter at Kirstenbosch spent 20 years  producing and building up enough stock to bring the plant to the market, as well as how to grow it (including how to protect the flower bud from squirrels!).

The plant was renamed in Nelson Mandela’s honour in 1996. Nelson Mandela was jailed for 27 years (from 1962) for his struggles against apartheid in South Africa. In 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and a year later was elected as the nation’s first black president, serving five years. He died on December 5, 2013 aged 95.

Awa Nursery (Waimauku, near Auckland) and Kaipara Coast Plant Centre are Wairere Nursery (Auckland) and Coast Palms & Cycads (Te Puke) have plants for sale. (Information updated November 2014.)

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