Strelitzia nicolai is part of the Strelitziaceae family, native to the eastern Cape province in South Africa, Mozambique and Botswana. There are 5 species nestled into the Strelitzia genus. The first to be introduced into Britain was S. reginae in 1773 by Francis Masson. Sir Joseph Banks (the director of Kew Gardens at the time) named the exotic-looking plant Strelitzia in honour of Queen Charlotte, wife of George III and Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who lived at Kew for many years. Out of the 5 species, S. nicolai is the only one that can grow up to 10 m tall and it was named after the Russian emperor Nicolas I.
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