The Cayman flag is blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side
quadrant and the Caymanian coat of arms centered on the outer half of the flag.
Some older versions of the flag have the crest on a white circle.
The Cayman Islands Coat of Arms is made up of three elements; the shield, the
crested helm and the motto.
In the shield, the three green stars represent the three islands; Grand Cayman,
Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The blue and white wavy lines represent the sea.
The top third of the shield has a gold lion "passant guardant" (walking with the
further forepaw raised and the body seen from the side) on a red background,
representing Great Britain
The shield is mounted with a green turtle on a coil of rope with a gold
pineapple behind. The rope represents the island's traditional thatch-rope
industry, the turtle Cayman's seafaring traditions, and the pineapple
represents the ties with Jamaica.
The motto "He hath founded it upon the seas" is taken from Psalm 24 and
acknowledge's Cayman's strong Christian traditions.
The Royal Warrant assigning "Armorial Ensigns for the Cayman Islands" was
approved by Her Majesty's command on 14 May 1958.
This unofficial national logo was originally created by Suzy Soto in 1963 and sold for
$1.00 to the Department of Tourism in the early 1970's. A variation of this logo,
with a flying scarf, is used as the symbol of Cayman Airways.
The Silver Thatch Palm (Coccothrinax proctorii) is unique to the Cayman Islands.
Known locally as "Tatch",
the upper sides of the fronds are light green, but the underside is a silvery colour - hence their name.
The fronds are very tough, and their broad shape makes them an effective covering.
Silver Thatch Palm leaves were traditionally used to thatch roofs, and this use
can still be seen on some of the cabanas and beach bars around the islands.
Although tough, cool and rainproof, the thatch needs to be replaced every
5-6 years (or 9 if, according to folklore, the leaves were cut at the time of the full moon).
The fronds were also used to weave hats, baskets and fans, examples of
which can be found in some tourist and craft shops.
One of the properties of the dried leaf is that it is resistant to the
effects of salt water. This lead to the development of the ropemaking industry.
Rope made from the Silver Thach Palm was highly prized in Cuba and Jamaica for
use in the shipping, fishing and sugar industries.
Ropemaking was a laborious process. First, the "tops" (new unopened leaves) had
to be harvested, often involving a long trek inland to where the palm trees grew.
The tops were then hung up in bundles to dry before being split
into strands. Three strands were then twisted together to make the rope.
The rope was then bartered with local storekeepers for basic necessities.
The Wild Banana Orchid (Schomburgkia thomsoniana) is one of 27 varieties of orchid
that grow in the Cayman Islands.
Usually found flowering after the heavy spring rains in May/June, there are
two varieties of this orchid. Both varieties have scented flowers with purple lips,
but Schomburgkia thomsoniana var. thomsoniana (which grows in Grand Cayman) has
petals that are predominantly white, whilst Schomburgkia thomsoniana var. minor
(which is found in the sister islands) has slightly smaller flowers with pale yellow petals.
The Cayman Islands' parrots are two subspecies of the Cuban Parrot.
The islands' parrots have iridescent green feathers with darker edges over the
body, a white eye ring, red cheeks, black ear patches and brilliant blue wing
feathers (which are only obvious when the bird is in flight). The tail has blue
outer edges, with some red and yellowish green underneath.
The Grand Cayman Parrot (Amazona leucocephala caymanensis) also has a pink
flush to its whitish forehead. The male is slightly larger and more brightly
coloured than the female. Juvenile birds have yellowish foreheads,
becoming more pink as they mature.
The Cayman Brac Parrot (Amazona
leucocephala hesterna) is slightly smaller and smaller, with more black trim
on its green feathers, the crown is pure white, and there is a large maroon
area on the abdomen. It is now only found on Cayman Brac, having been wiped
out from Little Cayman in the hurricane of 1932.
The best place to see the Parrot is in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and
on the Mastic Trail in Grand Cayman, and the Brac Parrot Reserve in Cayman Brac.
The National Song, "Beloved Isle Cayman" was written by Mrs. Leila Ross-Shier,
an organist in the Presbyterian Church in 1930, who sung it and played it on
her guitar for many years before it was adopted as the National Song.
BELOVED ISLE CAYMAN
O, land of soft, fresh breezes, or verdant trees so fair
With Thy Creator's glory, reflected ev'rywhere.
O sea of palest em'rald, merging to darkest blue,
Whene'er my thoughts fly Godward, I always think of you.
Dear verdant island, set in blue Caribbean Sea,
I'm coming, coming very soon, O beauteous isle to thee.
Although I wandered far, my heart enshrines thee yet
Homeland fair Cayman Isle, I cannot thee forget.
Away from noise of cities, their fret and carking care,
With moonbeams' soft caresses, unchecked by garish glare,
Thy fruit with rarest juices, abundant rich and free,
When sweet churchbells are chiming, my fond heart yearns for thee.
When tired of all excitement, and glam'rous worldly care,
How sweet they shores to reach, and find a welcome there.
And when comes on the season, of peace, goodwill to man,
Tis then I love thee best of all, Beloved Isle Cayman.