Jamaica at a glance
The Jamaican flag has 3 colors, Black, green, and gold. Black stands for hardships overcome and to be faced; Gold, for natural wealth and beauty of sunlight; and Green stands for hope and agricultural resources.
Coat of arms
The crest shows a crocodile, the indigenous reptile in Jamaica, mounted on the Royal Helmet of the British Monarchy. A male and female member of the Arawak tribe stand on either side of a shield which bears a red cross with five pineapples. The pineapples represent a fruit considered indigenous, to the Arawaks. Also represented on the Coat of Arms is the Jamaican national motto “Out of Many One People”, based on the population’s multi-racial roots.
National Bird – Doctor bird (Green-and-black Streamertail, Trochilus polytmus)
The doctor bird or swallow tail humming bird, is one of the most outstanding of the 320 species of hummingbirds. It lives only in Jamaica. These birds’ beautiful feathers have no counterpart in the entire bird population and they produce iridescent colors characteristics only of that family. In addition to these beautiful feathers, the mature male has long tails which stream behind him when he flies.
National Flower – Lignum vitae (Guaiacum officinale)
The Lignum Vitae was found in Jamaica by Christopher Columbus. Its name, when translated from Latin, means “wood of life” – probably adopted because of its medicinal qualities. The wood was once used as propeller shaft bearings in nearly all the ships sailing the ‘Seven Seas’. Because of this, Lignum Vitae and Jamaica are closely associated in shipyards worldwide.
National Tree – Blue Mahoe (Hibiscus elatus)
The Blue Mahoe is indigenous to the island. It is so beautiful and durable that it is widely used for cabinet making and also for making decorative objects such as picture frames, bowls and carving.
National Dish – Ackee and Saltfish (dried salted Cod)
Ackee is derived from the original name Ankye which comes from the Twi language of Ghana. It bears large red and yellow fruit. When ripe these fruits burst into sections revealing shiny black round seeds on top of a yellow aril which is partially edible. Jamaica is the only place where the fruit is widely eaten.