Floral emblems are a term used to describe a specific flower that is associated with a region.
It is a term that is used mainly in Australia and Canada, whereas in America they use the term of “state flower”. The floral emblem for the nation of Australia is the golden wattle, specifically Acacia pycnantha. Each state or territory then has its own floral emblem.
This can be broken down further for some cities. Sydney floral emblem is a banksia flower, specifically from Banksia ericifolia. The floral emblem for Brisbane, though not a native plant but one which grows well in the area is the red poinsettia or Euphorbia pulcherrima. The city of Cairns went for the Golden Penda or Xanthostemon chrysanthus which is an Australian native plant and has brilliant displays of yellow flowers. Darwin’s floral emblem of the Red Kurrajong or Brachychiton megaphyllus was adopted in 1966 and is native to the region.
Some councils have implemented floral emblems. Ipswich City Council has Eucalyptus curtisii, or the Plunkett Mallee. Bundaberg Regional Council has the Golden penda as their floral emblem. The Uralla Shire Council has adopted Cheiranthera telfordii which was first collected by Ian Telford from the University of New England and carries his name. The “ii”or “i” at the end of his name indicates a male found and named the plant. If the species name ends with “ae” then it is attributed to a woman.
Finding floral emblems sometimes uncovers interesting stories that go with them. For example, the emblem for Darwin, the Red Kurrajong, was lost for years before being rediscovered in old records. Not all regions or cities have floral emblems but it’s something worth investigating and then exploring the reason it was adopted. It is surprising how many were voted in by informal public votes, often through newspapers and others by government bodies. If your area or city has a floral emblem, what is it and how did it come about? Email us your local floral emblem – firstname.lastname@example.org