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Bird of paradise defies the cold with bout of blooming

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A LOCAL man is shocked that his bird of paradise plant has this year flowered a lot more than usual.

Defying nature. Mike Adams with his bird of paradise plant, which keeps flowering even though it’s not suited to the island’s cold climate. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 20604425)

Mike Adams was given the plant about 10 years ago by his wife.

‘We stuck it outside and thought “well, if it survives it survives and, if it doesn’t, it’ll die off”,’ said Mr Adams.

‘It just survives and survives – every year it shows up flowers and the cold usually gets them – this year it’s bloomed and bloomed.’

Mr Adams was particularly surprised because, invariably, these plants die very quickly in cold climates.

Local botanist Jane Gilmour said the plants were usually found in the tropics.

‘They are very very tender. I’ve seen them growing in the tropics, so they shouldn’t grow outside in Guernsey,’ said Ms Gilmour.

‘Our daytime hours are a lot shorter than they’d get in the subtropics at any time of year.

‘If it’s gained some extra heat, it may have been fooled into thinking it’s time to flower.’

The bird of paradise plant can grow up to 10 metres in height and is native to South Africa.

Usually they require six to eight hours of sunshine to produce flowers, which makes Mr Adams’ plant even more extraordinary.

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