Saturday, May 22, 2010

South Africa national flower strelitzia or protea?

I'm confused. Which flower is the National South African flower? Some websites are showing the protea (the giant or king protea) as the SA National flower, while other websites are showing the strelitzia as the national flower.

As far as I can remember, way back when, at school, the strelitzia was the National flower of South Africa, but I am aware, of course, that things have changed in South Africa since I was at school. Perhaps the SA National flower is now the protea, and some websites have just not yet updated, and it's okay if it's the giant (king) protea - a beautiful flower - but if comparing the way the two flowers look, I think I prefer the strelitzia - and more so when thinking of South Africa and making comparisons between the flowers, and between the flowers and SA:

The protea is a short squat little flower (well, not always so little, but certainly sort of round) with loads of short little petals. The flower sort of grows, and then it's there, happy to be short and round. To me, I could compare this to a country that doesn't want to grow further, or that with all the confusion and troubles regarding some people wanting an improvement for the country, and others not, and brains becoming overcrowded, there's just a big cluttered claustrophobic mess of disaster (petals all short and close together, no open space or open minds to move upward) ('let's just stick to what we already know and be happy with it (or miserable) instead of expanding and improving').

Now a strelitzia, on the other hand, is tall, stands out above other shorter flowers(countries?) as a leader, strong and with a flame of passion at it's centre - a flame that keeps it standing tall, and keeps the flower (country?) burning with the desire to improve even further. Large confident petals, and not crowded with confusion. An educated, calm and cool flower, that deserves respect.

Here's a photo below, of a beautiful strelitzia flower 'crossing it's "fingers" hoping for the best - hoping for improvement of the country it represents' (or used to represent?)

"Cross your fingers" strelitzia, South Africa:

© copyright Teresa Schultz 2010

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  1. I would definitely say, with no shadow of a doubt that the national flower of South Africa is either one of the two. The question that now arises, is does this refect the state of the country?

    However, apart from that, this is a unique and inspiring way to view any national symbol. Well done.

  2. We were told in Grey College that the national flower was the strelitzia - and at the time I questioned it..
    However, today it is widely accepted (and probably official) that the giant protea has the coveted handle.
    Another "however" though, it strikes me as odd that the national cricket team is now called the "Proteas." What a shame. Could the previously disadvantaged that now run everything in this country, including the cricket, swimming and tennis (which are games that very few blacks participate in)not have left things as they were. When one spoke of the "springboks" in the past, one immediately knew that it was the top and premier team in the whole country. Today they're called the "Proteas" and to my mind that is just one very small step away from being called the "Pansies."
    Johann -


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