We have the richly bio-diverse area of Western Australia to thank for the bizarre and beautiful kangaroo paw flower. As with all flowers, the kangaroo paw plant has developed its procreative anatomical structure to sound the siren to specific pollinators; in this case, honeyeater birds. Despite the similar appearance of the different kangaroo species, each flower species cleverly deposits its pollen on a different part of the visiting bird’s head, ensuring that the precious genetic material won’t get wasted on a competing kangaroo paw species.
Kangaroo paw plants have strappy foliage like daylilies or amaryllis plants. The tubular flowers are borne in fan-like rows, giving the appearance of an animal’s paw. Flowers are covered with dense, velvety fuzz, which influences the flower’s color. Flowers are commonly red, yellow, or orange; white and pink types are also available. Depending on the species, kangaroo paw plants can grow from two to ten feet tall.