National emblems

Some countries had not picked a national tree or flower. In those cases, it was difficult to decide what was a characteristic flower or tree. Sometimes there was conflicting advice on that issue, due to regional variations and other factors. Ambassador Tassos Kriekoukis, a permanent representative of Greece whom Trivizas met in Geneva on the occasion of a book exhibition, was extremely helpful in this respect. «He told me fascinating stories about flowers and their cultural associations,» recalls Trivizas. «For example, that the red carnation is considered in some areas to bring bad luck due to the fact that gangsters used to kill their adversaries by aiming at the carnations worn by them.»