Royalty, Names, Warfare
Wild plants are often part of our identity in our given or family names. Lily, Rose, Daisy, Hazel, Rowan have a clear link with wild plants, but there are other links such as the plants associated with some Scottish Clans, for example wild thyme for Armstrong, birch for Buchanan and pine for Grant. In the same way wild plants are integral to the art of heraldry and the symbolism of royalty.
The story of the Tudor rose and the combining of the red and white roses of York and Lancaster is well known but there are many other wild plants used in the symbolism of royalty, not least the national flowers of the United Kingdom and the fleur dy lys of Britain and France. The use of plants in the recent royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is part of a long tradition of using British plants in court ceremonies, coronations and weddings.
Many of our cultural connections with wild plants have been established or strengthened in times of war. They have been used to make the weapons of war but also the means to cure the wounds of war. Wild foods and medicines become especially valued in wartime, for example the national herb committees and the rosehip and sphagnum moss collections of World War II. Wartime is also a time of heightened emotions and wild plants are often used as tokens of love such as the silk postcards in World War I. The remembrance poppy is perhaps the most recognisable wild flower symbol in Britain.
Please download our factsheets to find out more about wild plants and their role in royalty, naming and warfare.