Plants have been chosen in many countries as symbols, representing specific geographic areas, while some countries have a country-wide floral emblem e.g. England (Rose), Scotland (Thistle), Spain (Carnation), and Canada (The Maple Leaf).
Of course the Shamrock (or trefoil) is widely used as an official symbol for Ireland, while the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) has officially and more recently been proclaimed the floral emblem of Australia.
Recently located new species of wild flowers have been named in honour of persons like the brilliant naturalist Sir David Attenborough, e.g. the new species discovered on the Brecon Beacons, now recognised as Attenborough’s Hawkweed (Hieracium attenboroughianum) and the new genus of flowering plant from the custard apple family, Annonaceae, discovered in the jungles of Gabon, now identified as Sirdavidia. One of three newly discovered species of a flowering plant endemic to the area around Mt. Madja, Antique Province, in the Philippines, has been named after Pope Francis.
‘Tipperary Purple’ Primrose
Very few, if any, cities, towns, areas or countries however can boast of a flower bearing its name with the exception of our beloved Co Tipperary.
The ‘Tipperary Purple’ Primrose bears a multitude of very distinct coloured dusky pinkish to purple flowers with sharp white dots at the base of the cleft in each petal, all set against an enlarged green cup-like structure which offers a protective layer around the flowering bud. Hardy to minus 25 degrees Celsius, this plant enjoys full sunshine in the spring but prefers shade in summer, thus being planted underneath deciduous trees or shrubs, in humus rich soil, is ideal.
The passed origins of this most attractive of Primroses (Primula vulgaris) today remains shrouded in mystery, but it is understood that it originated first here in Tipperary and hence the name.
A limited number of ‘Tipperary Purple’ Primroses can to be found today in O’Driscoll’s Garden Centre, Mill Rd, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Tel: (0504) 21636. Believe me O’Driscoll’s Garden Centre is well worth a visit presently, if just to view their magnificent mature wild flower garden, now a ‘must have’ if only to assist in reducing weekly mowing and other constant garden maintenance.
Who knows maybe one day some enterprising Vexillographer (Flag Maker) will manufacturer our Co. Tipperary flag not just bearing those proud blue and gold colours; but also bearing the small flower emblem of the ‘Tipperary Purple’ primrose.