Related to, and resembling, a banana plant, Strelitzia reginae is a compact, clump-forming perennial. It grows up to 1.5m and has long, lanceolate, grey-green leaves.
The most impressive feature of the plant is its strikingly exotic and long-lived inflorescence. Long-stemmed flowers emerge from a boat-shaped, red-margined, spathe resembling the head of a bird. The individual flowers have three bright orange tepals surrounding three shimmering peacock-blue petals, two of which are fused to form a nectary. The plant is pollinated by humming birds.