Germany’s Flower of the Year 2014

Every year the Loki Schmidt Foundation, based in Hamburg, chooses a wild flower as Germany’s “Flower of the Year”. The idea behind this campaign is to draw attention to and to protect endangered flowers and their habitats. 2013’s flower was one of my favourite wild flowers – the Hepatica. Liverwort (Hepatica nobilis) grows profusely in our region and I love seeing the little blue flowers in late winter, signalling the beginnings of spring.

This year’s flower is, however, unknown to me. Maybe you have heard of it?

Butomus umbellatus

(also known as flowering rush or grass rush)


(All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

One of the German common names is Schwanenblume – “Swan flower”…


Apparently this has become invasive in parts of North America, yet it is struggling here. This flower loves water, and is found in areas that flood regularly. I don’t think it grows near me, but on the edges and inlets of the rivers Rhine, Elbe or Oder it finds the warmth and damp it loves.

I think it’s really pretty, don’t you?


I’d love to hear if you know this flower!


Wikipedia (English): Butomus umbellata

Wikipedia (German): Butomus umbellata

“Blume des Jahres” (Loki Schmidt Foundation) (German)

52 thoughts on “Germany’s Flower of the Year 2014

  1. Do you know, I think I planted some flowering rush (… swan flower is a much prettier name!) in the pond here. But I don’t remember seeing it in the last couple of years – your post has reminded me to check on it this year.

  2. How beautiful! I’ve never heard of it before in German or English. Nature’s amazing to create such intricate patterns and endless shapes and colour combinations. Definitely worth protecting!

  3. What a gorgeous delicate flower Cathy, it’s new to me too. What a gem you are to introduce us to all these lovely different flowers. Happy New Year! Susan at life-change-compost

  4. I have never seen it, I’m surprised to hear it is an invasive. Maybe it needs milder weather than we have in this part of the country. It’s a beauty, though.

    • I imagine it’s one of these plants that thrives in the right conditions but is completely absent elsewhere. I shall still keep my eyes open this year though. It may be hidden among all the Himalayan Balsam down at the river’s edge (another invasive!).

    • Glad you like it too Ronnie. There are so many wild flowers I would love to see, and I will be looking out for this one now. Thanks for visiting!

    • Thanks for that link Sheryl. I will be looking out for it too this summer, although I somehow think I would have noticed it before if it grows here. We have a lot of Himalayan Balsam near the water’s edge here, which tends to crowd out other plants. Let me know if you find some!

  5. I know it – and it is a beautiful and large flower. Everyone who comes to see this flower wil come closer and watch it. I have some pictures in an older folder, but in summer IΒ΄ll take better ones.
    Beautiful flower – beautiful day – today we have sunshine, blue sky, mild temperatures.

    • I was hoping you would say thatt, as I assume it has the right conditions near your river. I look forward to seeing a photo of one on your blog! We had a little sun yesterday, but back to fog and low cloud today…. it is very mild here too though.

  6. Hi Cathy, yes we have flowering rush here in the east of the UK, I don’t think its as aggressive for us as it seems to be in America. Lovely too for a wildflower of the year to be chosen, what a great campaign. Sadly, its too wet and soggy for wild Hepaticas here, sounds a wonderful sight.

    • I’m glad to hear it is found in the wild in the UK. Yes, hepaticas love chalky, well-drained soil…. the stonier the better, so we have perfect conditions in our region!

    • I’m not sure how much of an impact this campaign has, but the idea is nice. Unfortunately the patron of the foundation (wife of a former Chancellor) died a couple of years ago so there is now a lack of prominence in media coverage.

  7. I have not seen this plant in my region (Southeastern US) but I’ve seen it in Washington on the west coast where it is a noxious weed. It’s huge, up to 5-feet tall in shallow water, and forms thickets that displace native plants. It’s hard to remove because little bulbs break off the roots when it’s dug up and it also spreads by seeds. I have a similar problem in my garden with Japanese knot weed, so I have sympathy for those dealing with the problem.

    • That sounds amazing! I wonder if/how it is being contained there. Japanese knot weed has apparently been banned in British gardens, or so I’ve been told, but I still see it here sometimes… it hasn’t got a foothold here in southern Germany yet, but I do sympathise!

  8. It is very pretty. To think some know it as a weed and they chose it as a favorite! I love that! I know if the water continues to be an issue here I shall be looking to add some lovely new varieties here in New Hampshire that love WET FEET πŸ™‚

    Enjoy your weekend Cathy!

  9. What a nice idea to have a flower of the year to maybe introduce wild flowers to a wider population. It isn’t a plant I know and it needs much too much water for here, but I do think I might have seen it in the UK.

  10. What an excellent idea to have a wildflower of the year Cathy. How does the campaign promote the chosen wildflower to the public? I’ve not heard of this one either (although it does look vaguely familiar) but will be looking out for it when I find myself near water.

    • The patron of the foundation was a prominent figure, but since her death a couple of years ago I fear this campaign will not get enough attention. The gardening programmes on TV will feature it, and gardening club magazines too, but I didn’t see or hear anything about last year’s flower after the initial reports. The foundation itself has excellent projects for protecting and even buying up habitats of endangered plants, so hopefully public donations will keep it going.

  11. What a cool flower and what a good idea to promote it. I’ve never seen it over here, but it does seem to be a pest in North America. I guess that’s some consolation if it does become more scarce in its native habitat.

    • I think the probelm is that their habitats are being altered, developed for building or farmers are using fertilizers that get into the water… You’re right though, it is a good sign that this flower can still thrive given the right conditions!

  12. I must confess that I didn’t know which flower is our “Flower of the year” πŸ™‚ But I think this flower is worth a look. Maybe I will have a chance to find it near the Rhine this year.

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