Using Native Flowers for Wedding Bouquets
Australian natives have undergone something of a renaissance in the last few years, noticeably for wedding flowers, with many brides choosing a distinctly Australian feel for their wedding bouquets and flowers. The huge variety of textures and colours to play with, from the large and impressive waratah (Taloea speciosissima) to the delicate blushing bride (Serruria florida), mixed with more traditional wedding flowers like peonies and roses, can create uniquely romantic arrangements.
In shades of pink, burgundy, orange and cream, contrasted with green-grey foliage, this bridal bouquet incorporates both classical and native flowers. A favourite for florists choosing native wedding flowers, blushing bride flowers have a very pretty shape and delicately pointed petals – not to mention a perfectly apt name! We added eucalyptus spray, peonies, Geraldton wax, pincushions and proteas, all tied with natural jute ribbon. The protea is the odd one out here, being neither a true Australian native (it’s originally from South Africa) nor a classical choice. However, the shades and textures of this flower work beautifully alongside many of our native blooms, especially the ‘pink ice’ variety. A stem or two of the giant king protea (Protea cynaroides) makes a striking wedding bouquet choice, with a flower head that can range from 120mm to 300mm in diameter, it’s not for the faint-hearted bride!
Floral Native Emblems
If you’re creating arrangements for a bride who is passionate about where they come from, it might be fun to know you can incorporate flowers into the wedding decorations that are the official floral emblem of the state they live in. In the spirit of the upcoming union, you can also include the groom’s floral emblem of course! Here are some fast facts about Australia’s floral emblems. The national colours of Australia are said to have been inspired by the striking green and gold foliage and flowers of the wattle.
- The Golden Wattle was officially proclaimed the floral emblem of Australia in 1988. Acacia pycnantha typically grows from four to eight metres in height, and in spring features large fragrant flower heads. Pycnantha is derived from the Greek words ‘pyknos’ (dense) and ‘anthos’ (flower), a reference to its dense cluster of flowers.
- Walenbergia gloriosa, commonly known as Royal Bluebell, has been the floral emblem of the Australian Capital Territory since 1982. From the bluebell family, Campanulaceae, the Royal Bluebell is found mainly in sub-alpine woodland. It has small dark green leaves and pretty deep purple flowers – the species name ‘gloriosa’ is Latin for ‘superb’ or ‘glorious’.
- The governor of New South Wales declared the Waratah as their floral emblem in 1962, after being used informally as a symbol for many years. Telopea speciosissima is a shrub which can grow up to four metres high. The name Telopea is derived from the Greek ‘telopos’, meaning ‘seen from afar’ which refers to its bright flower, and speciosissima from the Latin ‘speciosus’, meaning ‘beautiful’.
- Sturt’s Desert Rose is a woody shrub, closely related to the cultivated cotton species it belongs to the genus Gossypiu. The leaves are dark green and the flowers mauve with a red centre. The generic name is derived from the Latin gossypion, used for the cotton tree, the specific sturtianum, refers to Captain Charles Sturt.
- The Cooktown Orchid has been the floral emblem of Queensland since 1959. The colour of the flowers varies from a rare white to a more common pinkish-mauve or purple. Dendrobium is derived from the Greek ‘dendron’, meaning ‘tree’, and ‘bios’, meaning ‘life’. The flower’s resemblance to a moth or butterfly explains the specific name phalaenopsis, from the Greek ‘phalaina’ for ‘moth’.
- Sturt’s Desert Pea was adopted as the floral emblem of South Australia in 1961 and appears on the state flag. Swainsona Formosa flowers are about nine cm long and arranged in clusters. The petals are usually crimson with a black swelling at the base of the uppermost petal (however the petals can also be white or pink).
- In 1962 the Tasmanian Government proclaimed Tasmanian Blue Gum the state’s floral emblem. Eucalyptus globulus comes from the Latin globulus, meaning ‘spherical’, which refers to the shape of the fruit. The generic name Eucalyptus is derived from the Greek ‘eu’, meaning ‘well’, and ‘kalypto’, meaning ‘to cover’, referring to the operculum or flower cap, a distinguishing feature of the species.
- Epacris impressa, or Common Pink Heath is native to the south-east of Australia and the floral emblem of Victoria. The flowers, which are white, pink or red in colour, are arranged in dense clusters along the stems, and usually appear between late autumn and early spring. Its name refers to the sometimes hilly habitat of the plant, and comes from the Greek ‘epi’, meaning ‘upon’, and ‘akris’, meaning ‘a hill’.
- In 1960 the striking Red and Green Kangaroo Paw, Anigozanthos manglesii, was adopted as the floral emblem of Western Australia. The generic name Anigozanthos is thought to be derived from the Greek ‘anises’, meaning ‘unequal’ and ‘anthos’, meaning ‘flower’. The specific name, manglesii, refers to Robert Mangles who raised them from seed in his English garden. Its red and green flowers appear at the end of long stalks between August and November.