Floral Emblems of the Provinces
PACIFIC DOGWOOD (Cornus Nuttallii)
The Pacific Dogwood was chosen as the floral emblem of BC in 1956. Women’s Institutes of BC battled to get the Dogwood during the war years, and it was the symbol on lapel pins sold to raise money for soldiers overseas. The Dogwood was finally chosen over the Columbine as the provincial emblem. In early times the wood of the Dogwood was thought to portray the Cross; the centre the Crown of Thorns; and the red petal tips the blood of Christ.
WILD ROSE (Rosa Acicularis)
The wild rose was chosen by school children of Alberta and adopted as the official floral emblem on March 21, 1930 . Rosa Acicularis is predominant on Alberta ‘s coat of arms and is depicted on the provincial mace. License plates of Alberta bear the logo “Wild Rose Country”, and the pink colour of the wild rose is included in the official Alberta tartan.
WESTERN RED LILY (Lily Philadelphicum)
The Western Red Lily also known as the Prairie Lily, was adopted as the floral emblem of Saskatchewan in 1941. The Plains Indians and early settlers used the lily for medicinal and food purposes. Tea brewed from the lily treated stomach disorders, coughs, and fevers. Poultices were applied for swellings, bruises, spider bites, and wounds. Steamed lily was considered a potato substitute. A picture of the lily was placed on the Saskatchewan flag to remind people of wildflowers.
PRAIRIE CROCUS (Pulsatilla Patens)
The Prairie Crocus was adopted as the official floral emblem of Manitoba in 1906. School Children across Manitoba selected this native plant to represent the province.
A native Indian legend tells the story of the Crocus and of Wapee, son of a Chief, who spent four days and nights on a hill awaiting a vision of his future. After the first night, a beautiful flower bloomed and nodded to his as if in welcome. They became friends. When night descended, he wrapped himself around the flower to protect it from the icy winds. For three days and nights he protected the flower. When he rose to leave on the fourth day, Wapee thanked the crocus for its comfort and counsel, and asked what he should ask of the Great Spirit. The crocus answered “Pray that I may have the purple blue of the distant mountains in my petals; a small golden sun to hold close to my heart on a dull day, and a furry coat to face the cold winds in the spring”. The Great Spirit, please with Wapee’s kindness, granted the wish, and that is how the Prairie Crocus obtained its fur coat.
BLUE FLAG IRIS (Iris Versicolor Linne)
Quebec was the last province to adopt a provincial floral emblem. There were many debates over whether the Blue Flag (Iris Versicolor Linne), a native plant, or the Madonna Lily, a non-native plant, should represent the province. Finally in 1963 the Madonna Lily was chosen as it best resembled the fleur-de-lise, the symbol of French culture in Quebec and a reminder of historical ties to France . I
In November 1999, Quebec officially changed their floral emblem to be the Blue Flag Iris under the Flag Emblems of Quebec Act , since it better represented the blue provincial flag. Quebec is the first province to adopt an official insect. They have chosen the While Admiral Butterfly.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
PITCHER PLANT (Sarracenia Purpurea)
Also known as the Indian Dipper and the Huntsman’s Cup this native wildflower appeared on the Newfoundland penny as early as the 1880’s. The Pitcher Plant was officially adopted as the floral emblem of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1954.
WHITE TRILLIUM (Trillium Grandiflorum)
The Trillium was originally proposed as the national flower emblem of Canada by the Ottawa Horticultural Society following WW1 to be used for planting on the graves of Canadian servicemen overseas. Although this proposal was not adopted, the White Trillium was selected as Ontario ‘s official floral emblem in 1937 after a vigorous campaign. In competition for Ontario ‘s emblem were the Posy (Ontario Horticultural Society); the Dandelion; The Scotch Thistle; Orange Lily; and the Shamrock. The Trillium has appeared on various flags, such as the Ontario Achievement Award Flat (Until 1985); and the municipal flag of the Town of Whitby . The Trillium is also the official logo of the Ontario Government.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
PINK LADY’S SLIPPER (Cypridpidium acaule)
Blythe Hurst, St. a naturalist, is credited with encouraging the government of PEI to adopt the Lady’s slipper as the flower emblem of the province. A species of Lady’s Slipper, Cypripidium hirsutum or Showy Lady’s Slipper became the official flower in 1947. In 1952, a new bill was passed making all varieties of Lady’s Slippers the official flower emblems. The Pink Lady’s Slipper, also known as Moccasin-Flower, was finally designated the official flower in 1965 as it was more prevalent in the province than the other varieties. A prominent roadway in P.E.I., Lady Slipper Scenic Drive , is named after the wildflower.
MAYFLOWER (Epigaea Repens)
In 1901 the Mayflower was declared to be the Provincial Flower of Nova Scotia. Massachusetts selected the Mayflower as its emblem in 1918. While that sate had a long association with the Mayflower as well, its slow adoption is thought to be partially due to the fact that Nova Scotia had already “claimed” it as their floral emblem.
PURPLE VIOLET (Viola Cucullata)
The Purple Violet was adopted as New Brunswick ‘s official floral emblem in 1936 at the requests of the Women’s Institute and school children. The Purple Violet is also known as the Marsh Blue Violet. Violets have a long association with many different cultures dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times. The Violet was the emblem of Athens , grown in gardens, used in weddings and decorated sculptures. It was a symbol of innocence and modesty.
WHITE MOUNTAIN AVENS (Dryas Octopetala)
The Northwest Territories adopted the White Mountain Avens on June 7, 1957 when it enacted its Floral Emblem Ordinance. The selection was made on the advice of Dr. A Porsild, Chief Botanist of the National Museum , who noted that the Mountain Avens was the most common flower in the Arctic region. The scientific Latin name “Dryas” dates back to Greek Mythology. A Dryas or Dryad was a wood nymph, which believed oaks were sacred. The leathery leaves of the White Mountain Avens resemble the leaves of evergreen oaks from the Mediterranean .
Territory of Nunavut
Purple saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia)
Nunavut , formerly part of the Northwest Territories , became a separate Territory in Canada ‘s Eastern Arctic on April 1, 1999 . In the Inuit language, Nunavut means “Our Land”. On May 1, 2000 , the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut chose the Purple Saxifrage as the official Territorial Flower. The Purple Saxifrage is also one of three wildflowers that adorn the Territorial Coat of Arms.