Strelitzia reginae is the Official Flower of the City of Los Angeles. Who knew we had one of those? It's indigenous to South Africa, but what does that matter? The common names for it include Strelitzia, Crane Flower or Bird of Paradise (as in "just another day in paradise"). The scientific name commemorates Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III. It seems someone named a city in North Carolina after that woman too. In any event, Strelitzia reginae was first introduced to Europe in 1773, when it was grown at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It's now one of the basic ornamental plants out here. It really won't grow in England.
The leaves are evergreen and arranged in two ranks, making a fan-shaped crown. The flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks. The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges is the spathe. This is perpendicular to the stem, so it looks a bit like bird's head and beak - thus the common name. The flowers emerge one at a time from the spathe - three orange sepals and three purplish-blue petals. Two of the blue petals are joined together to form an arrow-like nectary. It's very odd.