Most countries have one national flower, but Bolivia has two. One of the most asked for topics by kids and teens on our site is about national emblems.
Our first national flower is the kantuta, an elongated bell-shaped flower. There is a legend associated with this flower.
The story of the Kantuta goes that two kings, Illimani and Illampu, and they were rulers of the region of Quallasuyu or today's Bolivian Altiplano (the highlands in the Andes Mountains) and each had a beloved son who the people honored. But soon the kings became jealous of each others prosperity and in the end one attacked the other. In the battle both gave each other a death wound. Before dying they told their sons to avenge them.
In honor of their pledge the two sons set off to war even though they had no problems against each other. The same thing happened, both sons gave each others death wounds, but instead of wishes of vengeance, the two brothers forgave each other before they died.
That was when appeared Pachamama (Mother Nature or Mother Earth) who punished their dead fathers by crashing their stars down from the sky and these became the snow covered mountains still named Illimani and Illampu, which are some of the highest places
The Kantuta symbolizes unity and has the colors of the sons (red and yellow) as well as green for hope. Kantuta photo source.
The kantuta can also be orange, fuchsia pink, or yellow and white and is also the national flower of Peru, which is where this video was made, but anyway here it is so you can see the beautiful flower of the Incas:
The other Bolivian national flower is the Patujú. In English it is sometimes called the hanging lobster claw. Unlike the Kantuta, it isn't as rare and is prolific all around South America, and can be grown in just about any garden. It is related to the bird of paradise flower and is found in the Bolivian rainforest.
You can see the patujú and learn about them here:
The patujú also shares the Bolivian flag colors of red, yellow and green. Both of these flowers are beautiful and great to find and the flowers represent peace and unity between the peoples of Western Bolivia and the peoples of Eastern Bolivia. Patujú photo source.
So these were the two national flowers, the Kantuta (Cantua buxifolia) and the Pataj (Heliconia rostrata). Can you guess what language the word patujú comes from?
Video 1 source: https://youtu.be/xvbz642X3r8
Video 2 source: https://youtu.be/B1-kLyKLF_E
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