National Symbols - The National Flower


The Yellow Elder - The National Flower of the Bahamas

This flower blooms between October and December on a tree that may grow as high as twenty (20) feet. The evergreen stands out because of its clusters of brilliant yellow, bell-shaped blossoms. They are about an inch across and two inches long, with red stripes lightly etched in the corolla. The little bells are held in a five (5) - point calyx, and there are nine (9) to thirteen (13) leaflets composing the odd pinnate leaf. Just before the blooms flare open, bag-like buds pop noisily if squeezed.

Selection of the yellow elder over many other flowers was made through the combined popular vote of members of all four of New Providence's garden clubs of the 1970s - the Nassau Garden Club, the Carver Garden Club, the International Garden Club, and the YWCA Garden Club. They reasoned that other flowers grown here - such as the bougainvillea, hibiscus, and poinciana - had already been chosen as the national flowers of other countries. The yellow elder, on the other hand, was unclaimed (although it is now also the national flower of the United States Virgin Islands).


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