Jamaica Overview

National symbols

National Flag:

With a diagonal gold cross, the background of the flag is black (the left and right triangles) and green (the top and bottom triangles). Each color is symbolic: the black stands for hardship, the green for both hope and the fertile land, and the gold for wealth and sunshine. The flag’s symbolism is “Hardships there are, but the Land is green and the Sun shineth.”

Coat of Arms:

The island’s coat of arms is an Arawak couple beside a shield displaying pineapples and the crest of a Jamaican crocodile.

Motto: The motto of Jamaica is “Out of Many, One People,” a reference to the many cultures that came together to produce the nation.

National Tree: The blue mahoe is used to make small pieces of furniture.

National Fruit:

The ackee (Blighia sapinda), an import, has reached such prominence as to yield what is, essentially, a national dish: saltfish and ackee. First brought from Ghana, it is a reminder that Captain Bligh (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame) brought many tropical fruits to England for the first time. This small, innocent-looking red fruit grows on a large evergreen tree; the fruit is poisonous until it ripens.

National Bird:

Streamer-tailed hummingbird.

National Flower:The lignum vitae. The flowers are produced by a tree that contains some of the world’s hardest wood, used in early times to build ships. Today the blonde wood, the “wood of life,” is used to make beautiful carvings.

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Jamaica Adventure Guide