The annual theme of the Association of Botanical Gardens (NVBT) is ‘Travelling Plants’. In this article, however, the plants take us on a trip around the world in our minds. Picture Hawaii, for example. You are probably thinking of surfing and volcanoes, but chances are you also immediately picture the flowering hibiscus. After all, almost every Hawaiian shirt features those flowers! Next, picture India. Busy streets, Hindu temples, and possibly the lotus flower, especially if you are into yoga.
What a flower is and what it can mean are two different things. Botanically, a flower is the reproductive structure of flowering plants. But a flower can also have cultural significance. Did you know that many countries have a national flower symbolising their history, culture and nature?
Let’s do a quick tour of the Bush because several national symbols grow here!
Malaysia, for instance, has the red-blooming Chinese rose Hibiscus rosa-sinensis as its national flower. According to the Malaysian government, the colour suits their people’s courage. They call the flower ‘Bunga raya’, which loosely translates as ‘celebration flower’. This hibiscus symbolises the celebration of unity in a multicultural country. Come and spot it in the Bush! You can see the flowers hanging along the adventure trail.
Hong Kong’s national flower is depicted on the country’s flag. It is the orchid tree (Bauhinia x blakeana; a hybrid plant, which is why it has the ‘x’ in its name). According to flag designers, the flower represents movement, democratic energy and harmony. We don’t have the exact species, but you can spot the Bauhinias near the rice field in the Bush.
One of the no less than three national flowers of Indonesia is Jasminum sambac, the fragrant jasmine, or ‘melati’. It represents harmony between all living beings. The stylised flower is frequently found in Indonesian architecture, and the melati is also a symbol of love, hope, prosperity and happiness in Indonesian literature. If you want to see and smell the jasmine for yourself, make your way to the Asian part of the Bush, where you can find it in several places.
The plants of Burgers’ Bush can capture the imagination immensely. This eco-display is a beautiful imitation of the rainforest, but it is also a plant collection for which some of the plants carry a cultural meaning. The fragrant jasmine might mean something different to an Arnhem boy than an Indonesian visitor. The lotus may mean something different to an Amsterdammer who has never left the country than a visitor from the Achterhoek thinking back to their holiday in India. Whatever your background, you are always welcome in our Bush for a trip around the world. And it’s sustainable—skip the plane and join us hiking from Asia, through Africa, to Latin America!
Bats wrongly have a bad reputation. They are often said to be bloodthirsty vampires! If we look at t…
31 October 2022
On Wednesday, 12 October, the completely renovated Bush Restaurant will open its doors to all our vi…
14 October 2022
Last summer, the Bush gained some 300,000 new residents! After being kept behind the scenes of the B…
7 October 2022