Saturday, July 5, 2014

World Cup Flowers

Scrolling through my Twitter feed this week, I couldn't help notice the Royal Horticultural Society's tweets about the national flowers of the countries participating in the world cup. They would ask their followers to "vote" on which team they wanted to win based on which flower they preferred, a much better way of doing things in my opinion because I often have no idea how to choose who to root for in soccer matches. I always get interested in our history with plants and how we come to choose flowers to represent different things, countries included, so I thought I'd dive into the history of the national plants for the four quarter-final teams and why they were chosen for their respective countries.


Tecoma chrysostricha (left) and Cattleya labita (right)

According to sources that I found, Brazil seems to have two flowers it holds in national regard. The first, Tecoma chrysostricha is called the "National Flower Emblem" of Brazil. The second, Cattleya labita, is often called the "State Flower" of Brazil. Slightly confusing, but I guess the ust couldn't decide between the two. Tecoma chrysotricha, also known as Ipe-amarelo (caled so by the indigenous peoples of Brazil) is the flower of a native, broad-leafed tree that is found in the decidous forests of South America. It belongs to the tropical family of bignonias that has over four hundred species found in Brazil. It gained prominence when it was made the national flower emblem by President Quadros.
Cattleya labita, also known as the corsage orchid, is very popular in festivals in Brazil. It primarily grows in the northeastern part of Brazil where it was discovered in 1818. 


Centaurea cyanus, also known as the blue cornflower, is the national flower of Germany. It is thought that this is in part because of the story that Queen Louise of Prussia, who was fleeing Berlin pursued by Napoleon's forces, hid her children in a field of cornflowers and kept the quiet by weaving wreaths for them out of the flowers. It also became associated with Prussia because it was the same color as the Prussian military uniform. When Germany became a unified country in 1871, the blue cornflower symbol stayed. Other ties to German history include becoming a political symbol, with members of the Freedom Party wearing it at the opening of the Austrian parliament in 2005, and being the favorite flower of Kaiser Wilhelm.


Erythrina cristina galli, also known as the ceibo or Cockspur Coral Tree, was declared the national tree and flower of Argentina on December 2nd, 1942. This species in the Fabaceae family usually grows in forests along waterways and in swamps and wetlands. The tallest varieites are found in the Argentine provinces of Salta, Jujuy and Tucuman.


The tulip is the obvious national flower of the Netherlands. Even though the tulip is not "official" (there hasn't been any decree of any sort to make it the national flower) it's the flower that the country is best known for. The Netherlands produces three billion tulip bulbs a year, making it the most prominent producer of tulip bulbs in the world. Tulips were first introduced into the Netherlands by Carolus Clusius in 1573. The tulips he planted at Leiden University began the infamous "tulip mania" where some single tulip bulbs were said to cost ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. Tulip mania ended when the tulip market crashed extraordinarily. In the Netherlands today, the tulip has come to symbolize the briefness of life and tulip festivals are held annually.


1 comment:

  1. What beautiful flowers in your post.
    Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick