A Guide To State Flowers

Although it is one country, the United States is made up of 50 individual states, each with its own history and heritage. As part of this heritage, each state has chosen an official flower that the state feels is particularly representative of its way of life. Some states have chosen the same flower, but all of them have put a great deal of thought into the choice. Interestingly, in many cases, it has been school children who have chosen the state flower.

  • Alabama: In 1959, Alabama changed its state flower from the goldenrod to the camellia because the goldenrod is a wildflower.
  • Alaska: Alaska chose the forget-me-not as its state flower because it can be found throughout the state.
  • Arizona: Since Arizona is largely a desert, it makes sense that it chose as its state flower the saguaro cactus blossom.
  • Arkansas: The state flower of Arkansas, the apple blossom, recalls the time when the state was a leading producer of apples.
  • California: Some people believe the California poppy was chosen as the California state flower because its golden-orange color recalls the great California Gold Rush.
  • Colorado: At the end of the 19th century, the schoolchildren of Colorado chose the columbine as the state's flower.
  • Connecticut: Since 1907, the mountain laurel has been the state flower of Connecticut.
  • Delaware: The fact that Delaware was once a leading producer of peaches explains why its state flower is the peach blossom.
  • Florida: Oranges are a key part of Florida's economy, which is why the state flower of Florida is the orange blossom.
  • Georgia: The Cherokee rose is the state flower of Georgia and is actually native to Asia.
  • Hawaii: The endangered yellow hibiscus brackenridgei is the state flower of Hawaii.
  • Idaho: In 1931, the Idaho State Legislature chose the syringa, also known as the "mock orange," as Idaho's state flower.
  • Illinois: A 1982 postage stamp commemorated Illinois's state flower, the violet.
  • Indiana: The peony, though native to Asia, is popular in the American Midwest, including the state of Indiana, which has chosen it as the state flower.
  • Iowa: After being used to decorate a tea set for the battleship Iowa in 1896, the wild rose became the Iowa state flower in 1897.
  • Kansas: Native to Kansas, the sunflower is the state's flower.
  • Kentucky: In 1926, Kentucky adopted the goldenrod as its state flower.
  • Louisiana: Found in many portions of the state of Louisiana, the magnolia is the state's flower.
  • Maine: Appropriately, the white pine and tassel is the state flower of Maine because it is found throughout the northeastern United States.
  • Maryland: Maryland chose the black-eyed Susan as its state flower in 1918, though the flower is found throughout the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Massachusetts: The endangered mayflower, which grows in the woods, is the state flower of Massachusetts.
  • Michigan: Michigan grows a lot of apples for the United States, and this is why the apple blossom is the state's flower.
  • Minnesota: Growing in wet areas such as bogs, damp woods, and swamps, the rare pink and white lady slipper is Minnesota's state flower.
  • Mississippi: Although schoolchildren overwhelmingly chose the magnolia as Mississippi's state flower in 1900, it was not officially recognized by the state as such until 1952.
  • Missouri: The downy hawthorn is the state flower of Missouri, and some species of hawthorn have been used to make teas, jams, and medicines.
  • Montana: Native Americans once boiled and ate the root of Montana's state flower, the bitterroot, because it is very nutritious.
  • Nebraska: The goldenrod is found throughout the state of Nebraska and is that state's flower.
  • Nevada: In addition to being the state flower of Nevada, sagebrush is also a food for livestock.
  • New Hampshire: New Hampshire chose as its state flower the purple lilac, which was brought over from England, in 1919.
  • New Jersey: After a long period of unofficial recognition, the common meadow violet was officially made New Jersey's state flower in 1971.
  • New Mexico: For generations, people have used the leaves of the yucca, New Mexico's state flower, for weaving baskets and other items.
  • New York: The rose, which is also the United States' national floral emblem, has been the official state flower of New York since 1955.
  • North Carolina: North Carolina chose the dogwood as its state flower due to its presence throughout the state.
  • North Dakota: The wild prairie rose is North Dakota's state flower, and it can be found throughout the state in meadows and pastures.
  • Ohio: President William McKinley, who was from Ohio, often wore a red carnation on his jacket lapel, and that is why the red carnation was chosen as Ohio's state flower.
  • Oklahoma: Although Oklahoma's state flower was once mistletoe, it is now the Oklahoma rose.
  • Oregon: The plant that produces the Oregon grape, Oregon's state flower, can also be used to make dyes and foods such as jellies.
  • Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania's state flower, the mountain laurel, really likes acidic soils.
  • Rhode Island: Rhode Island was one of the last states to officially designate a state flower, and it chose the violet.
  • South Carolina: The yellow jessamine, which grows on vines throughout South Carolina, is that state's official flower.
  • South Dakota: Native Americans used a tea made from the pasqueflower, South Dakota's state flower, to help pregnant women deliver their babies more quickly.
  • Tennessee: Tennessee chose the iris as its state flower, and most people accept the purple variety as the real state flower even though the color has not been officially designated.
  • Texas: The Texas bluebonnet was chosen as the Texas state flower in 1901, largely because it is commonly found throughout the state.
  • Utah: Crickets destroyed much of Utah's food supply during the middle of the 19th century. Citizens learned to eat the root of the sego lily, which was later declared Utah's state flower.
  • Vermont: The red clover, which serves as a food source for livestock and a source of nectar for honeybees, is the state flower of Vermont.
  • Virginia: Found throughout the state of Virginia, the state's flower is the flowering dogwood.
  • Washington: Women voted throughout the state at the end of the 19th century to pick the coastal rhododendron as Washington's state flower.
  • West Virginia: In 1903, public school students in West Virginia chose the rhododendron as West Virginia's state flower.
  • Wisconsin: The leaves of the wood violet, Wisconsin's state flower, can be used to make candies, to add flavor to salads, and to create other foods.
  • Wyoming: The Indian paintbrush, Wyoming's state flower, is found not only in Wyoming but also throughout Canada.

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