Did you know that countries throughout the world have their own official and national state flower? Well, the Arab World is no different. Today, in this article, let’s explore eight flowers that represent some of the countries in the Arab World. Come and join us on this very fragrant and fun trip through the beautiful flowers that represent the national spirit of many countries throughout the Arab World!
However, the overall ‘unofficial’ flower variety of the Arab World is that of the rose, and one can definitely see why that kind is so important throughout the region. These reasons include that the popular food item, rose water, is made out of the plant, and in both the Christian and Islamic faiths, red roses signify passion, and a white rose is seen to hold the meaning of purity and unity in the Arab World as well. Finally, the rose itself has one more significant meaning to the Arab World and that is because, in Islam, the rose is called “the flower of Heaven [and they are] perceived as [representative of the] human soul.” So, now it is time to meet the beautiful flowers that represent some of the countries within the Arab World.
What are Some Flowers of the Arab World?
1. Algeria–Roof Iris:
The Roof Iris is the national flower of Algeria, and the Algerian people love it because it symbolizes “royalty, hope, faith, bravery, and wisdom.” The Roof Iris is a flower variety that is originally from Japan and they are usually a sort of purple color which in the floral world is also called ‘blue’. Their petals can also be completely white or purplish-blue with specks of white. They very much enjoy a sunny environment and are also very drought-tolerant.
The name of ‘Roof Iris’ is derived from when it was originally “planted on thatched roofs in its native China and Japan.” It is a very elegant-looking flower and the Roof Iris’s petals have this almost mesmerizing quality about them. Irises also have artistic and practical purposes since perfumes and medicines are made out of them as well. Finally, they are typically used for ornamental purposes, on a lawn, and in the ancient world, orris was also used in religious ceremonies.
The Sunflower is the national flower of the country of Bahrain in the Arab World. Sunflowers are native to North America, and it is thought that perhaps their plants were domesticated even before the crop of corn was! They symbolize “long life, happiness, good luck, and vitality,” and therefore in Bahrain, they make very popular gifts for many occasions. Sunflowers have also been used for medicinal purposes in the Arab World such as “treating malaria, gingivitis, and others, and this is done by using its stems and roots.”
Sunflowers also provide food sources to humans since we eat sunflower seeds, and birds can also be nourished because of these wonderful seeds as well. Additionally, Sunflowers have such huge and beautiful blooms that they just seem to bring joy wherever they are found. Finally, if you have a huge patch of sun, they can be planted there, and you will enjoy their beautiful petals for the entire summer!
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The Lotus flower is the national flower of the country of Egypt. In all actuality, Egypt has about two types of Lotuses that make up their national flower category, and these are the “Common Lotus which originally was a water lily, and its petals are white, [and the other one is the beautiful and ethereal] Blue Lotus.” Each kind of Lotus whether it be the blue or white one has its own specific characteristics which are quite interesting. The “Blue Lotus opens its beautiful petals in the morning whereas its White Lotus counterpart opens them at dusk.”
The Lotus itself has a fantastic backstory and history within Egypt, and its importance dates to the ancient world. In fact, the lotus was considered to be a “sacred flower” in ancient Egypt. The Lotus flower is also highly linked with ancient Egyptian mythology in that its origins go along with the creation story in Egypt. “The Lotus flower symbolizes the sun, creation, rebirth because of how at night it closes up, sinks underwater, and then by morning, it rises up again above water this time.” Finally, the Lotus also symbolized Upper Egypt and its counterpart in Lower Egypt was the Papyrus plant which also was famous for being one of the first types of paper ever made.
Arfaj is the national flower of the country of Kuwait. They are part of the Aster family of plants and Arfaj are also native to the Arabian Peninsula. The flowers look like yellow puffballs with pointy petals and wispy green stems. Arfaj also appears to be a shrub with vine-like qualities. The historical origins of Arfaj are that they are native to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but now because of overgrazing, they also appear in other parts of the Arab World including Iraq, North Africa, and the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.
Arfaj is also extremely useful for multiple other practical purposes besides their natural beauty. In the Arab World, “Arfaj is a very important grazing plant for camels, their young leaves are used in food preparation as a spice, and they are used by the Bedouins as a source of fuel to power things.” Arfaj is also used in local and traditional medicine to take care of people. Finally, they are just beautiful to look at and their bright yellow color brings great happiness and joy when viewing them!
5. Morocco–Wild Rose:
The Wild Rose is the national flower of Morocco. Did you know that the country of Morocco loves its Wild Roses so much that every year between April and mid-May, they host a festival dedicated to these beautiful plants? Yes, every year during this time, Morocco celebrates the “Festival of Roses in the Vallée des Roses.” These roses are grown in the Asif M’Gouna Valley of which is renowned throughout the world for the beautiful flowers it produces yearly in the wild.
The Festival of Roses is very important for this village as it brings in much-needed income especially for the local co-ops that work with rose farmers, planters, and pickers to command a fair price to make the highly-coveted product of rose oil which is actually quite expensive to purchase. Finally, the festival brings tourists, Moroccan citizens, and so many people from around to experience these flowers, purchase rose-oriented products, drink rose tea, listen to traditional music, and this event is also a moment to empower rural Moroccan women as they celebrate customs such as selecting the so-called ‘Rose Queen’.
6. Palestine–Faqqua Iris:
The Faqqua Iris is the national flower of Palestine. An interesting fact about the Faqqua Iris is that it is actually from the asparagus family! The Faqqua Iris gets its name from the “famous English botanist, John Gilbert Baker, who saw the flower in a Palestinian town, and he decided to call it after the village he was in, which was, Faqqua.” The Faqqua Iris has been the national flower of Palestine since 2016, and territory officials are trying to preserve it because of the [plant’s contribution to the region’s climate, biodiversity, and] ecosystem.” The Faqqua Iris has quickly become a sign of national heritage in Palestine. The Faqqua Iris is also a very intriguing flower, especially with its purplish-and-black petal color tones. Additionally, the flower has this subtle and magical beauty to it, and the Faqqua Iris is Palestine’s effort to bring about environmental awareness to the region by trying to take care of this beautiful plant and saving the planet.
7. Yemen–Arabian (Arabica) Coffee:
The Arabian (Arabica) Coffee plant is the national flower of the country of Yemen. If any of our readers have enjoyed a cup of coffee, then most likely its coffee beans were derived from this plant at some point because the majority of the world’s coffee comes from this variety. Arabica Coffee plants and their flowers are “endemic to the mountainous regions of Yemen.” If we were to trace the history of coffee, we would probably find ourselves somewhere in the “fifteenth-century in western Yemen meeting a Sufi monk who was drinking the beverage to stay up during all-night meditations.”
Who knew that one of the world’s favorite drinks came from Yemen? Yemen eventually grew their own coffee beans in massive quantities in the later centuries, and if you were to visit, you might even find some farmers who are still growing this amazing plant many years later. Finally, the beans and flowers themselves are so beautiful and unique, and remember this amazing history of coffee when you drink your next ‘cup of joe!’
8. Syria, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia–Royal Jasmine:
Royal Jasmine is the national flower of three countries in the Arab World, yes, three! These are the countries of Syria, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia. Royal Jasmine flowers have many uses including making a “wonderful tea that many people love to drink and in some cultures, it used to create leis.” Royal Jasmine also has wonderful practical purposes including that it is used in making medicines which can then be used as aids in treating “liver disease as well as abdominal pain caused by dysentery.”
Many people enjoy jasmine in their foods including candies, ice creams, other items, and creams that are used for certain beauty products. Royal Jasmine also has a lot of symbolism including that some think it “brings good luck, denotes purity, is for love, beauty, and romance, and others even think it holds a meaning of motherhood.” Finally, they are just stunning flowers to look at and one can get easily caught in its mesmerizing and relaxing smell.
In conclusion, thank you for joining me on this adventure to learn more about these stunning flowers that make up only some of the Arab World’s national flowers. I hope that my readers also got to enjoy thinking about some of the wonderful smells that these flowers have as well as the cultural significance that are present in countries picking them as their national flowers. Finally, I hope this article brought all my readers some fun, joy, beauty, and happiness as flowers typically do in our lives!
By: Claire Boyle / Arab America Contributing Writer
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