The Rugby World Cup kicks off on the 20th of September with Japan v Russia, and we can’t wait. 

In the spirit of the event, we thought we’d look at the flora that features in the emblems of the teams battling it out in Japan.

This is prime pub quiz winning material, so pay attention.


This is probably not news to you, but our emblem features the flower of Scotland, the thistle. 

We’ve used the thistle as our national emblem for a really long time, since the reign of Alexander III from 1249-1286, to be exact. 

Our first game is a clash with our neighbours, the Irish, on the 22nd of September.

Good luck, lads.


Thinking four-leaf clover? You’d be wrong. The Irish national rugby team’s emblem is actually a shamrock. 

But what is a shamrock? Well, there are actually more than five different variations, such as the Lesser Clover and White Clover. It’s been used as the symbol for Ireland since the 18th Century. Irish children are taught that the shamrock can only be grown in Ireland, or with Irish soil, but this isn’t true. The plant has been found in places as far away as Tasmania.


We don’t like to talk about the English for too long, so we’ll keep this short:

The English emblem is the Red Rose. 


Onto this year’s hosts. When you think of Japan, you think of cherry blossoms, so it’s no wonder the national rugby team’s emblem is the Sakura.

The Japanese Cherry shares its crown, with the chrysanthemum also being considered the national flower of Japan. The specific variety that features in the emblem is the Somei Yoshino, which is the pale pink kind you first think of.

If you’re lucky enough to be heading to the World Cup this year, we’re afraid you won’t see these beauties in bloom. For that, you’d have to head back over between the 20th of March and 14th of April.

New Zealand

With three wins under their belt, the All Blacks are the competition’s most successful nation.

The Silver Fern (or Alsophila dealbata for those that speak Latin) is a species of tree fern that can only be found in New Zealand. This isn’t in the style of the shamrock-Irish lie, this is actually true. While it’s found everywhere apart from the wild west of the South Island, the fern grows in abundance on the North Island.

Similarly, the women’s rugby and netball teams go under the nicknames Black Ferns and Silver Ferns, so it’s fair to say they are proud of their endemic leaf.


Back in 1834, the first mayor of Montreal, Jacques Viger, described the maple as “the king of our forest and the symbol of the Canadian people. Since it features on the coat of arms of Canada, it’s no surprise the national rugby team use the Maple Leaf as their emblem. 

Where does the maple tree grow? In short, all over the world. Ten species do grow in Canada, with at least one in each province. Linking with this year’s host country, the maple tree is used regularly as the tree of choice for the Japanese art of bonsai.

Canada’s best result in the world cup is reaching the quarter finals in 1991, so they’ll be hoping captain Phil Mack can take them to new heights this year. 


You might think we’re clutching at straws a bit here, but a palm tree is a technically a flowering plant, so we’ll give the Flying Fijians a shout in our flora of the world cup list.

How many species of palm do you think there are? The answer: around 2600. The tallest palm tree can grow up to 197 feet tall, and they are incredibly versatile, growing in deserts, beaches and rainforests. You can even make palm wine called “kallu” from them, which is a popular beverage across Asia and Africa. 

Like Canada, Fiji’s best result is reaching the quarterfinals in 1987 and 2007, so good luck to them this year.

Anther Flowers Admin