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A slow-growing, small tree with very large heads of red flowers which hang beneath the foliage. The leaflets are aristate, having an elongated apex. Young leaves are mottled pale pink and greenish white, turning pinkish brown and finally uniformly green as they mature. The pods are velvety, and propagation is from seeds. Brownea grandiceps is recognisable from its long pinnate leaves with 12-18 pairs of leaflets and the pendulous bunches of young leaves are pale green, splashed and mottled in a reddish brown. The spotted handkerchieves are impressive enough, but the inflorescences are even more of a sight - dense, salmon-pink balls of 20 cm or more across.
This tropical American native occurs in Colombia and Venezuela, though it is widely grown in other tropical regions worldwide. A true tropical, it requires frost-free environment with hight air humidity. Assuming you can provide the tropical conditions, the species grows into a nice medium size tree 20-25 ft (smaller in containers), with dense umbrella-like canopy, spreading 15-20 ft wide.
Young leaves a pale green to pinkish, almost white, sometimes with light variegation, and hangs down like a large handkerchief (like in all related species (browneas, amherstia, maniltoa, etc.).
Flowering occurs on 3-4th year from seed, at the base of the branches. The flower lasts a few days, however the view is unforgettable.
Spectacular plant with puckered ribbed leaves with maroon undersides and orange/yellow flame-like flowers. Partially shaded light, it will lose some of its markings if denied light, though does not like full sun. Calathea wants high humidity and high temperatures as well. Indoors, mist several times a week to provide added humidity. Remember, this is a jungle plant. This plant tells you when to go to bed at night: its leaves close up.