7 junio, 2024

The 3 Natural Symbols of Venezuela

The natural symbols of Venezuela they seek to highlight their benefits, particularities and native customs. Each nation usually declares a group of elements within its flora and fauna as icons of national identity and differentiators from other cultures.

In the case of Venezuela, in addition to national symbols, there are also natural symbols that not only represent endogenous species from different regions of the country, but are also rooted in Venezuelan culture.

Venezuela is one of the countries with the most natural resources in Latin America, it is also one of the 17 most megadiverse countries on Earth. The flora and fauna species inhabit the Andes in the west, in the Amazon jungle in the south, in the plains of the Llanos, in the delta of the Orinoco river in the east and on the Caribbean coast.

The animals that inhabit Venezuela are diverse, including manatees, Amazon dolphins, Orinoco crocodiles, and more than 1,400 species of birds, 48 ​​of them endemic. Among those that are in danger of extinction are the tigrillo, the cardenalito or the rorqual.

Regarding plants, there are more than 25,000 species of orchids that are found in the cloud forests or in the low jungles. The national tree is the araguaney, also called guayacán or zapatillo, which reaches more than 35 meters high and lives in the tropophilous forests of the Venezuelan plains.

The 3 natural symbols of Venezuela

1- The turpial (icterus icterus)

It is the national bird of Venezuela. It was chosen through a contest sponsored by the Venezuelan Society of Sciences and officially decreed as the Venezuelan national bird on May 23, 1958.

This bird is recognized by the yellow-orange tones that cover its entire body, except for the head and wings, which tend to be black with white flecks.

It has an intense blue spot around its eyes and it is small: it measures between 15 and 20 cm. The mating cycle takes place between the months of March and September.

The first record of the turpial in Venezuelan lands dates from the year 1839. It was then when the botanist John Lindley assigned it its scientific name and classified it within the icterid family, native to the American continent.

Its preferences lean towards hot places, such as the plains and xerophilous forests. It can be found solitary or in pairs in La Guajira, on the Caribbean coast and the Paraguaná peninsula.

It can also be found towards the Sucre state and across the plains towards the Orinoco delta. It can also be seen on the island of Margarita, on the Colombian borders and even in Panama.

This bird does not build its own nests, but instead occupies those it finds uninhabited. In some cases, it settles in some nests by force, aggressively expelling its inhabitants.

Their diet is based on insects and fruits. It has a very melodious song and usually sings at dawn.

Regarding its name, there are two hypotheses: one affirms that it comes from indigenous roots; and another, supported by the Venezuelan flora and fauna specialist Bruno Manara, indicates that it is the onomatopoeia of their song, which can be heard as “turu-pio, turu-pio”.

2- The Flor de Mayo orchid (Cattleya mossiae)

Decreed the national flower of Venezuela on May 23, 1951 by resolution of the Ministries of Education and Agriculture and Breeding.

The scientist Willian Cattley was in charge of naming it, since he cultivated the first specimens of this variety in England through another species brought to him from Brazil in 1818.

However, the first records of its presence in Venezuela date back to the 1830s, specifically of the «Mossiae» species, popularly known as the Flor de Mayo (Cattleya mossiae).

This is a species that grows best in humid and warm environments. For this reason it is easily found throughout the national geography.

It is mostly lilac-violet in color, although it can have different colors: it changes from white to yellow, pink and deep purple.

The orchid is one of the most widespread families in the plant kingdom. More than 800 genera and 30,000 species are known, although the variants found in South America and Central America do not exceed 60 species.

Most grow on other plants, with which they maintain a symbiotic relationship, although there are others that flourish on rocks covered with moss and lichens.

They can be differentiated and classified according to their leaves: there are some that develop only one, while others develop two or three, thus being labeled as unifoliate or bifoliate.

This flower can measure up to 14 cm and is made up of petals and sepals of the same color. They have a large labellum, wavy edges and spots of different colors from the rest of the flower.

It can be found in the coastal range from 800 meters to 1,500 meters above sea level in the states of Aragua, Miranda, Yaracuy, Carabobo, Portuguesa, Lara, Táchira, Trujillo and Mérida.

Throughout the entire Venezuelan territory, orchid exhibitions are held every year, especially in the month of May. Such exhibitions are held by specialized organizations.

Some of these institutions are the Venezuelan Society of Natural Sciences (SVCN), the Miranda State Orchid Society (SOEM), the Bolivar Orchid Growers Society (SOCB) and the Venezuelan Orchid Association (AVO).

It is considered a symbol of femininity because for its pollination it is necessary for the insects to be male.

3- The araguaney (Tabebuia chrysantha)

Proclaimed national tree on May 29, 1948 by joint resolution of the Ministries of Education and Agriculture and Breeding during the celebration of the first Tree Day.

This tradition was maintained until 1951, when on May 19 it was decreed that the week of the tree would be celebrated on the last Sunday of May.

The araguaney on average can measure between 6 and 8 meters. It has a straight and cylindrical trunk with an average diameter of 60 cm.

It can go unnoticed for most of the year. However, at the end of the drought, it drops its green leaves and, at the beginning of the rainy season —between February and April— this tree is filled with large and striking flowers of an intense yellow color.

During this stage the seeds that have been falling are already at their peak to begin to germinate a new plant.

The araguaney is a common tree in tropophilous, deciduous or deciduous forests, as well as in savannahs and arid hills, but it grows easily in almost any light and well-drained soil, so it is not uncommon to find it in much of the Venezuelan territory.

Its scientific name is Tabebuia chrisantha. tabebuia It is of aboriginal origin derived from “aravanei”, and chisantha It is a Greek word that means «golden flower», in reference to the color of its flowers. It is also known as acapro, curarí, araguán, cañada or puy.

Araguaney wood is one of the hardest in the tropical zone. It is used for the construction of furniture, bodies, floors and fine handicrafts, among others.

It has also been used for urban forestation, living fences, for shade and decoration. It is excellent honey.

References

American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V).
natural symbols. Retrieved from Sigavenezuela.com.ve on January 27, 2018.
Natural symbols of Venezuela. Retrieved from Notilogia.com on January 27, 2018.
10 facts about the turpial, the national bird of Venezuela. Retrieved from Latiendavenezolana.com on January 27, 2018.

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