Sunday, October 29, 2006

New Zealand’s National Flower

Over at Topics from 192 Countries, the latest topic is national flowers. I have just finished writing this post for it, and decided to reproduce it here:

After reading Elspeth’s post the other day about national flowers, I was intrigued to find out what New Zealand’s national flower was, as I must admit I did not know. I went off and researched it and was surprised to find that New Zealand doesn’t have an official national flower, but it does recognise three unofficial national flowers as the Silver Fern, the red Pohutukawa flower, and the yellow Kowhai. As the Silver Fern does not produce a flower as such, the red Pohutukawa flower from our native Pohutukawa tree is probably the closest to a national flower. These trees are protected by law, and there are rules about only moving them until they are a certain age, and then after which you are not allowed to ‘kill’ them. These trees are evergreen, and the beautiful red flowers appear from late December (the southern-hemisphere summer).

The Silver Fern is better known as a national symbol for New Zealand. The Silver Fern is also native to New Zealand, and is characterised by its fern leaves being green on the upper surface and silver on its lower surface. The Silver Fern is often seen on New Zealand military uniforms and gravestones, but more commonly on the uniforms of New Zealand’s national sports teams (which are predominately black with white trim). New Zealand’s national netball team is known as The Silver Ferns. A lot of patriotic New Zealanders often get themselves tattooed with a silver fern to mark them as a Kiwi.

New Zealanders are colloquially known as Kiwis, after our national bird. The Kiwi is native to New Zealand and is a short and fat little bird, brown in colour, with stubby wings and a long beak (although probably not politically correct to call it short and fat anymore). Its stubby wings mean it is a flightless bird, an lives by hunting bugs and worms in the soil using its long beak. I’m not sure if Kiwis are able to climb Pohutukawa trees, but theoretically I guess they could achieve flight for small periods of time from these trees – Flight time being calculated as ‘height of the tree’ x ‘gravity’.


Blogger Tish said...

I find it amusing that even squirrels can fly, even if Kiwi can't. Mind you, Kiwi might have a bit of trouble climbing the trees, I should imagine. Anyway, maybe flying is just over-rated (if your a Kiwi)


11/03/2006 12:04 AM  

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