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The Stories and Symbolism of 6 National Flowers From Around the World

All flowers are beautiful. Their colors, shapes, and even their scents are all wonderful and special parts of nature. Artists draw and paint them, we give and receive them as gifts, and we notice them with a feeling of adoration wherever we see them growing. Flowers are a part of nature, yet they are a part of human culture, too.

Some flowers even have special meanings. For many, roses symbolize love. Daisies conjure a feeling of simplicity and innocence. Tulips make us think of spring.

The symbolism of some flowers goes far deeper than that, though. National flowers have been adopted by many different countries to symbolize much about their country, their people, their history, their terrain, and more.

Read on to learn about the national flowers of different countries around the world, and learn the stories and symbolism behind them.

The Beautiful Symbolism of the World's National Flowers

What makes a national flower a national flower? How does a simple flower earn this high honor?

There are many ways that different flowers have come to represent a nation.

Many of these symbolic flowers have stories that surround them. Others have been chosen due to color or composition. Some flowers are symbolic of the country they represent because of specific feelings they inspire or because their growth or structure implies human values or qualities that echo those of the nations' citizens.

Still others have been named the national flowers of the countries that they represent simply because they grow easily in the country's climate and as a result, they are plentiful there.

In many cases, these flowers have represented a specific country for a very long time. Others possess newer connections and symbolism; the official flower of the United States has only held that honor since 1986.

1. The National Flower of the Netherlands: Tulip

One national flower that almost everyone knows is the national flower of the Netherlands. This country, also known as Holland, is known for windmills, wooden shoes, and tulips. Tulips of every color bloom in the Netherlands in the spring and this flower has become a symbol of this small European country that is recognized worldwide.

Tulips are not native to the Netherlands; they actually come from central Asia and Turkey and adapt well to rocky terrain. Holland's first tulip bloomed in 1593 and the country fell in love. Today, millions of tulips grow in the Netherlands each year and this country is now famous for being the world's largest flower exporter.

2. The National Flowers of Japan: Cherry Blossom and Chrysanthemum

Japan has two national flowers. The one that most people are most familiar with is the cherry blossom. In April of each year, cherry trees produce beautiful pink blossoms throughout this island country; because they only last a short while, they symbolize the fragility of life, hope, and renewal. Many Americans are familiar with the cherry trees of Washington, D.C. which were gifted to us by the mayor of Tokyo in 1912.

Outside of Japan, few people are aware that this country's second national flower is the chrysanthemum. This flower has been a symbol of the Japanese royal family for many centuries. Its importance to Japanese culture is celebrated each year during the country's Festival of Happiness in September

3. The National Flower of Australia: Golden Wattle

Another flower that is celebrated in September of every year is Australia's golden wattle. On Wattle Day, which is celebrated on September 1st nationwide, the people of Australia wish one another a Happy Wattle Day and gather with family and friends for picnics, teas, lunches, or dinners.

The Golden Wattle is one of the national flowers that is relatively new; it was given its title in 1988. This flower grows all over Australia and displays the national colors of green and gold. For this southern nation, it symbolizes unity. It was used by Aboriginal natives to make weapons and tools, and European settlers used it in the construction of their homes. 

4. The National Flower of South Africa: King Protea

The king protea was named the national flower of South Africa in 1976. You may not be familiar with the protea family of flowers, but it includes over 1500 species and they come in all different shapes and sizes and they grow throughout the Southern hemisphere. Scientists believe they have been on earth for three hundred million years.

The largest of all proteas is the king protea and many believe it looks a bit like a crown. Today, it appears on South African birth certificates, passport, and currency, and South Africa's cricket team is also named after it.

5. The National Flower of Peru: Cantuta

The people of Peru have celebrated the cantuta for thousands of years. This flower is shaped like a long bell and it grows on tall bushes that live at high elevations. The Incas were so amazed by its beauty that they dedicated it to their god, the Sun, and believed that it had the ability to purify water. In Incan culture, the cantuta had many ceremonial and ritual uses.

Today, the cantuta still holds great meaning for the Peruvian people, and it is also the national flower of Bolivia as well.

6. The National Flower of the United States: Rose

Roses have grown in what is today known as the United States for many millions of years and there are at least twenty species of wild rose that still grow in our nation today. However, it was not designated as our national flower until 1986 when the Senate passed a resolution asking President Ronald Reagan to make an official declaration. 

This flower is well-known as a symbol of love and beauty around the world. Rose petals and rose hips can be eaten and rose hips are also used medicinally in many ways. Roses come in red, pink, white, or yellow and are also known for their beautiful aroma. Most agree that the rose was an excellent choice for the United States' national flower.

National Flowers: Beloved Around the World

There are over 190 countries in the world and almost all of them have national flowers that are known by and are celebrated by their citizens. The six flowers discussed above are just a few of them, but the stories of all of the others are just as interesting to learn.

If a particular country has personal meaning for you, or if you have friends or loved ones residing there, take time to learn about its national flower. You'll be glad you did.

If you want to send flowers internationally, we can help; in fact, we specialize in it. Simply choose a destination country on our site, and we will walk you through the next steps from there. Please contact us if you have any questions. We will be happy to answer them and we look forward to doing business with you. 

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