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Plants for a Plant Zoo: Parrot’s Beak (Clianthus puniceus)

Brighten up the garden in spring with the bright pink to red flowers of parrot’s beak, a bushy evergreen shrub endemic to New Zealand’s North Island. The waxy, 3″ long flowers are produced in clusters of 15-20 and resemble the beaks of parrots or the claw’s of lobster depending on your point of view. The sprawling nature of the plants makes it ideal for growing on a wall or trellis where its divided dark green to gray-green leaves will show off the flowers to advantage. With a pea pod-like fruit, parrot’s beak is related to beans, mimosa, and black locust. It is an endangered species in New Zealand.

Type: Evergreen shrub

Height: 13′

Bloom Color: Pink to red

Bloom Time: Spring to early summer

Light: Full sun

Soil: Fertile, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 8-9