Rose, thistle, flax and daffodil
The national flower of England is the rose ~ the Tudor rose ~ which derives from the Wars of the Roses in 1455-85, where both sides had a rose as their symbol.
The national flower of Scotland is the thistle, as its prickly presence on Scottish coastlines is said to have saved the Scots from night-time attacks by the Vikings! The heather is also considered to be a Scottish symbol as, like the thistle, it is perfectly suited to the wet, rugged landscape and grows very happily there.
The national flower of Northern Ireland is the flax, chosen to be a reminder of the part played by agricultural crops in its history. The logo for the Northern Ireland Assembly consists of six flax plants, one for each county. The shamrock is better known as an Irish symbol, but it is the national flower for Ireland, rather than Northern Ireland.
The national flower of Wales is the daffodil, or ‘cenhinen Pedr’ in Welsh, which literally translates to ‘leek of Peter’. This may explain why the daffodil took over from the leek, though both are still used. Indeed, on St. David’s Day the Welsh Regiment always eat raw leeks, wherever they are in the world.
(Image of rose: blairwang at Flickr.com / CC BY 2.0)