Australian Wattle – 11 Fun Facts About National Flower of Australia
The golden wattle has survived drought, wind, and bushfires for 35 million years on the Australian continent. In other words, it’s the perfect example of how tough Aussies are. Here are 11 fun facts about the flower that represents Australia that you might not know.
The golden wattle has been used by native Australians for thousands of years –
Australia’s First Peoples have lived there for more than 65,000 years, and before the British took over, they used acacias for many things. Wattle trees were used to make food, medicine, weapons, tools, musical instruments, glues, dyes, perfumes, and decorations for ceremonies out of their wood, pollen, and sap. The golden flowers grew in the spring and were a sign of seasonal events like whales coming to the coast or eels showing up in rivers.
The British colonists didn’t care much about it.
When the first European settlers came to Australia in the late 18th century, they were disappointed that none of the native plants looked like the food they were used to eating back home. It took until 1842 for botanist George Bentham to write about the wattle in the London Journal of Botany. The “acacia pycnantha” is found in every Australian state. The “type specimen” was found in north Victoria. Golden wattles grow on trees that are three to eight meters tall and have long, green leaves and bright yellow flowers that look like little balls.
Australia’s military history is tied to the golden wattle in many ways.
Australia only became a country in 1901, so its efforts in World War I were a big part of creating a national identity, and the golden wattle was a big part of that. During the war, wattle flowers were sold to raise money. It became a tradition to send pressed wattles in letters to injured soldiers in Europe, and a sprig of wattle was often put in the graves of soldiers who died.
It’s wrong on the Coat of Arms
Since 1912, the official symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia has been a sprig of wattle. However, this is wrong from a botanical point of view. Wattle surrounds the kangaroo, emu, and shield, which represent the country’s six states. However, the acacia pycnantha isn’t really shown by the round flowers and green leaves. Don’t tell any botanists who are too picky!
The first of September is Wattle Day.
Australia’s official flower symbol, the golden wattle, wasn’t chosen until 1988, but Wattle Day has been celebrated since 1899, before the country was even united. Wattle Day is on September 1, which is also the first day of spring. This shows that the flower is a sign of new growth, renewal, and starting over.
It was the inspiration for Australia’s national flag.
Even though Australia’s flag is red, white, and blue, sports teams have been wearing green and gold since the late 1800s. In 1984, green and gold were officially named Australia’s national colors, and you won’t see a national sports team wearing any other colors now. It is even mentioned in the cricket team’s victory song: “Under the Southern Cross I stand, a sprig of wattle in my hand, a native of my native land, Australia you f***ing beauty!”
The Queen’s coronation dress had golden wattle on it.
Queen Elizabeth II wore golden wattle on her official coronation gown when she took the throne on June 2, 1953. This means that they aren’t the only ones who like green and gold. The fern from New Zealand, the protea from South Africa, the maple leaf from Canada, and the lotus flower from India were all used as floral symbols of different parts of the British Empire.
The golden wattle was used as a joke by Monty Python.
In 1970, a sprig of wattle made its way onto the set of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It was used in the sketch “Bruces,” in which a group of khaki-clad, beer-drinking, sunburned men named Bruce from the Philosophy Department at the University of Woolloomoolloo made fun of a crude Australian stereotype. Their name? “This is the wattle, which stands for our country. You can put it in a bottle or hold it in your hand. Amen!”
It’s used on Australia’s medals and awards
The golden wattle is the inspiration for the Order of Australia medal, the National Emergency Medal, and many other Australian Defense Force honors. The Order of Australia medal is the highest honor an Australian civilian can get. The national flower is also a common theme in works by famous Australian artists like Albert Namatjira, Sidney Nolan, and John Olsen, as well as in poems and songs like Banjo Paterson’s “We’re All Australians Now” and “Cootamundra Wattle” by John Williamson.
It’s a strong candidate to be our next national flag
In the background, people are talking about whether or not Australia should break away from the British Commonwealth and become an independent republic. There is a strong movement to replace the outdated current flag with a more authentic national symbol. There is a Union Jack in one corner of the current flag, and there is a lot of support for getting rid of it and replacing it with something that is clearly Australian, like the stylish Golden Wattle Flag.
In some parts of the world, the golden wattle is a weed.
Australians may love their national flower a lot, but that doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same way. South Africa, Tanzania, Italy, Portugal, Sardinia, India, Indonesia, and New Zealand all consider the acacia pycnantha to be a weed because it takes over native plants.
Topic: Australian Wattle – 11 Fun Facts About National Flower of Australia
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By: Travel Pixy
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