The flora of Malaysia is one of the richest and
most diverse in the world, so as you can imagine, the competition to be named
“National Flower” is pretty stiff. Nominated, along with such worthy contenders
as the rose, the magnolia, and the ylang ylang, bunga raya, which literally means
“grand flower” would be the one to win in the end, becoming the country’s
official national flower in 1960. The red of the petals are said to represent
courage and life, while the five petals symbolize the five Rukunegara, or “National Principles” of Malaysia.