When you think of Australia, the land down under, what do you think of? The adorable kiwi bird? Sprawling landscape and awe inspiring coral reefs? Animals that are big, adorable, goofy, and sometimes deadly? Whatever you think about, I’d like to add the Golden Wattle, Australia’s national flower to the list. My very first reason: the name Golden Wattle is just plain fun to say, and really sounds like an adorable anime spirit. Go ahead, say it a few times fast, I’ll wait. Feels good right?
My second reason, this adorable bud blooms in spring, which begins in September in Australia. The wattle blooms into large fluffy, yellow, sweet smelling flower heads that are actually clouds of tiny flowers. The scientific name for the Golden Wattle is Acacia pycantha, but I think we can agree the common name is just more fun. Let’s take a deeper look at Australia’s national flower.
History of the Golden Wattle
So how did this plant come into the limelight? People in Australia unofficially accepted the golden wattle as the national flower for Australia in 1901. Later, in 1988, the Australian government made it official. Seeing that the plant grew largely around the capitol helped make it an obvious choice for national flower. It also has a rich history of being just plain useful.
The indigenous people of Australia used to soak the gum of the golden wattle in water and honey. This mixture produced a sweet toffee like substance that helped the flower gain popularity. It was all well known for having tannin in the bark that has rich antiseptic properties. As a matter of fact the name golden wattle actually comes from an Anglo-Saxon building technique that was introduced to Australia by early British settlers. The technique, wattle, is where you weave flexible twigs or small branches together to form the framework of buildings. This flower was perfect for the job and the name golden wattle was born.
With such a rich history and variety of uses, plus an eye-catching beauty, it’s no wonder that this robust flower has made it to the top in Australia!
Celebrating Wattle Day
The golden wattle is so beloved by Australians, that yes, it has its very own day. Wattle Day is celebrated on September 1st. In fact, that first Wattle day was recorded in 1899, well before it became the nations official flower. The date September 1st was chosen to further reinforce the flower’s status as a symbol of new growth, renewal, and fresh beginnings.
People celebrate Wattle Day be decorating their homes, and even themselves, with this stunning flower. New plants are seeded into the earth, and people generally welcome in Spring and celebrate their unique and vibrant culture. As a matter of fact, the golden Wattle inspired Australia’s national colors. The country has been rocking green and gold since the late 1800s on their sporting uniforms, and officially recognized the hues as their national colors in 1984.
Fun Facts about the Golden Wattle
You may have actually heard about the golden wattle without realizing it.
In 1970, the golden wattle appeared in Monty Python’s Flying Circus in Bruces Sketch. The scene features a rowdy crew of drunken blokes named, you guessed it, Bruce. Hailing from the University of Woolloomoolloo (I think I spelled that right, go watch the sketch and you try). Their motto is “This here’s the wattle, the emblem of our land. You can stick it in a bottle, you can hold it in your hand. Amen!”
The golden wattle is considered a weed in some parts of the world. While people hold this flower dear in Australia, this plant is actually quite aggressive. Because of its nature to compete with and beat out other native plants, people call it a weed in South Africa, Tanzania, Italy, Portugal, Sardinia, India, Indonesia, and New Zealand. This might be why it’s not popular in bouquets. I think that is a shame given just how charming the golden wattle really is. It would be a perfect addition to centerpieces and floral baskets in Australia, particularly in Spring.
Queen Elisabeth II actually wore the golden wattle on her official coronation gown on June 2, 1953. The golden wattle was one of many flowers to appear on her dress, each meant to represent different corners of the British Empire.
While the golden wattle is a symbol on the Australia Coat of arms, its depiction is botanically incorrect. I suppose the artist took some license to accentuate the frame for the kangaroo and emu.
Will we ever see the Golden Wattle in your bouquets?
You probably won’t see Australia’s national flower make it into our bouquets worldwide. But there’s a chance we could do a custom order for you in Australia, just make sure you ask one of our awesome customer service team members and they’ll reach out to our local florists. It would make a great accent for a light summer bouquet, I’m thinking next to a few sunflowers to really bring home that early sunrise vibe!
Now that you know the Golden Wattle is a thing, what next?
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