Hummingbirds are small, but mighty creatures. If you’ve worked your magic on attracting hummingbirds to your yard with a beautiful red feeder and homemade sugar syrup, here’s an added bonus for your outdoor paradise: A plant with hummingbird-shaped flowers.
Called a green birdflower or regal birdflower, this stunning plant belongs to the legume family (hello, chickpeas and alfalfa). Scientifically known as Crotalaria cunninghamii, named after the 19th century botanist Allan Cunningham, the small green shrub is native to Northern Australia. According to the Australian Native Plants Society, aboriginal people often used the plant's sap to treat eye infections.
Looking directly at the entire plant, it’s as if a dozen green hummingbirds gathered together to enjoy a feast of flower nectar—beautifully suspended in mid-air.
And when holding one of these flowers in your hands, it's easy to think it's the real thing.
A green birdflower is most commonly found in sand dunes and in Mulga communities, defined as plants that "capture, retain and cycle precious sediments, nutrients and water." If you can't wait to grow one of your own, know that this unique plant thrives best in hot climates in sandy, well-drained soil with plenty of sunshine.
Although these hummingbird-shaped flowers originate from Australia, plant lovers can easily purchase seeds on Etsy and Amazon. Once the hard seedcoat has blossomed, you'll be able to admire this one-of-a-kind plant all summer long.
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