Plants of Paradise: Strawberry Trees, Hibiscus and More!
Beyond downtown San Diego’s skyscrapers, several coastal beaches and miles of North County greenery sits the exotic island thoughtfully known as Paradise Point. Paradise Point’s 44-acre island is home to over 600 types of plants, with over a dozen medicinal, and 10-20 edible. Learn more about a select number of the island’s rare and unusual plants from at least 20 countries.
1. Strawberry Tree – The Strawberry Tree, from France and Ireland, is edible but bland flavor. With the scientific name “unedo”, philosopher Pliny the Elder explained the name as derived from unum edo, meaning “I eat one” (a testament to the boring flavor).
2. Zululand Cycad – This unique plant flowers in the form of a huge red cone, reaching up to one foot wide and 2 feet tall. Because it usually flowers in winter, it is lovingly called Paradise Point’s “tropical Christmas tree”.
3. Imperial Bromeliad – Hailing from Rio de Janiero, the Imperial Bromeliad is named after the second Brazilian emperor. It is increasingly endangered in the wild due to the misconception that they encourage malaria and dengue fever. This exotic Paradise plant takes decades to flower into a red stalk that grows up to six feet tall.
4. Bird of Paradise – As Paradise Point’s “mascot”, there are over 1,000 Bird of Paradise plants across our 44 acres. Native to South Africa, the scientific name “strelitzia regina” and comes from King George III who received the flower as a gift in 1773.
5. Hibiscus - Out of the island’s 2,500 flowers, 800 are hibiscus plants! With many different colors and types, these plants can be eaten dried or as tea to lower blood pressure. They are also used in many skin and hair care products for great softening properties. Of course, in Hawaii, the Hibiscus is a symbol of marital status! Wear one behind your left ear if you’re taken or behind your right if you’re single!