Erythrina Cristina Galli is the national flower of Uruguay. It is commonly known as Ceibo in Spanish. This red flower tree grows in many parts of the country in the form of forests. It makes the beauty of homes, gardens, streets, and parks due to its attractive red. Besides this, it is used in national and public songs, poems and imprinted on the national coat of arms bears its color. Its unique shape, the affection that the natives have towards this flower (for the natives the red color is the symbol of love, affection, attraction, and beauty) and last but not the least its abundance in Uruguay made the Erythrina Cristina Galli the national flower of Uruguay.
Facts about Uruguay’s National Flower (Erythrina Cristina Galli)
- Common Name: Ceibo, Cockspur Coral Tree, Cock’s Comb, Common Coral Tree.
- Genus: Erythrina
- Species: Cristina Galli
- Found in: watercourses, in swamps, wetlands, and also in parks and gardens
- Color: Carmine red
- Number of petals: 5
- Time of blooming: November to February
- Purpose: Garden Tree
- Symbolism: Bravery, strength, love, affection, attraction, and beauty
The national flower of Uruguay, Erythrina Cristina Galli flowers bloom on the Erythrina crista-Galli tree, which is a flowering tree of the family Fabaceae. The name erythrina means coral tree from the Greek word for red in allusion to the carmine red color that these flowers have. Erythrina crista-Galli is a small tree, the girth of its trunk measuring 50 cm (20 in).
Normally it grows 5–8 m (16–26 ft) tall, although some individuals can grow up to 10 m (33 ft). Erythrina flowers bloom between November and February. Two of the four petals of the flower, which are called wings, are so small that they are overshadowed by the calyx. The other two petals partially bind together on occasion and form the flower’s keel or carina, and thus help to protect the reproductive organs. It is found along watercourses, swamps, and other areas with fertile, well-drained soil, and its small size and ornamental value have made it a popular tree to be planted in urban areas such as parks and other green spaces.
The cockspur coral tree has played an important role in Uruguay poetry, legends, and folklore. One of the most famous stories about this flower goes something like- a young indigenous woman who was captured by the Spanish conquistadores. She killed her captor when she was trying to escape. Regardless of fleeing into the forest, she was found out and punished for her actions by being tied to a tree and burned alive. When the men returned for her body, they discovered a cockspur coral tree in its place. The legend claims that the gleaming leaves and velvety red flowers of this tree had replaced her body and now stood as a symbol of bravery and strength in the face of suffering. This is just folklore though. There are about 100 species of Erythrina.
The tiger’s claw spines of the coral tree can holdup clothing and skin. The wood of the Erythrina is very light and porous; and it is used for the construction of rafts, model aircraft, and beehives. Erythrina flowers are commonly pollinated by insects and hummingbirds. Erythrina species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera. It can be used to cure constipation as well because it has the property to work as the laxative.
To sum up, the national floral symbol of Uruguay, Erythrina Christina Galli is a fiery red flower that brightens the dull nature in an instant. Because of its prevalence in the locality and the linkage to the heritage of Uruguay culture, it has been designated as the national flower of Uruguay.