This tall, striking foliage plant, also known as the Natal wild banana, grows mostly in coastal dune vegetation and evergreen forests near the cost. It is a common feature of the coastal vegetation from East London northwards, growing in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and up into Mozambique towards Zimbabwe.
Strelitzia nicolai grows up to 12m high and 4m wide. The flower is a typical crane flower inflorescence. The flowers have white sepals with blue petals, resembling the head of a bird with a white crest and purple beak.
Strelitzia alba is a rare form of S. nicolai.