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See which floral beauty represents your state
Maybe the plant is native to a state, or perhaps it represents a moment in that state's history, but there is a significance to each state flower chosen. Here are all 50 official state flowers (plus D.C.), along with interesting tidbits about each one.
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Alabama - Camellia
Until 1959, the state flower of Alabama was the goldenrod. The camellia, also nicknamed "the rose of winter" appears on the Alabama state quarter and can be cultivated in many different colors.
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Alaska - Forget-me-not
For a brief period of time, from late June to late July, the forget-me-nots of Alaska bloom in the state's alpine regions. The dark blue backdrop behind the Big Dipper constellation on Alaska's state flag, represents not just Alaska's vast sky but also a field of forget-me-nots.
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Arizona - Saguaro cactus blossom
Upwards of 40 feet tall, the Saguaro cactus blossom has been Arizona's state flower since 1931. The Saguaro can live up to 150 years and is endemic to the Sonoran Desert. The beautiful white blossoms show up in May and June.
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Arkansas - Apple blossom
There was a time when Arkansas was a leading producer of apples in the United States, and their bounty of apples earned them the nickname "The Land of the Big Red Apple." For this reason, the apple blossom was chosen to be Arkansas' state flower in 1901.
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California - California poppy
One of the best super blooms to catch in the spring is in the rolling hills of California poppies that cover 1,800 acres in the Antelope Valley. Though the California Poppy is a wildflower that grows throughout the west coast, it is native to California.
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Colorado - Rocky Mountain columbine
The Rocky Mountain columbine became Colorado's state flower after an overwhelming amount of school children voted it as their favorite flower. In 1899, the Colorado Legislature approved this white and lavender flower as the official floral symbol of the state.
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Connecticut - Mountain laurel
Mountain laurel goes by many names – ivybush, lambkill, sheep laurel and spoonwood (because Native Americans used the plant to make spoons), to name a few. The colonists first reported seeing it in 1624. And in 1907, the pleasantly fragrant mountain laurel became the official state flower of Connecticut.
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Delaware - Peach blossom
Delaware adopted the peach blossom as a floral symbol in 1895. During those days, there were over 800,000 peach trees in the state, earning Delaware the nickname the "Peach State." It wasn't until 1953 when the state legislature officially declared this delicate pink blossom the Delaware state flower.
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District of Columbia - American Beauty Rose
A classic rose, the American Beauty's rose petals come in different shades ranging from crimson red to pale pink. They grow to about three to six feet tall, and their flowers have upwards of 50 petals, which some may see as symbolic of our nation's 50 states.
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Florida - Orange blossom
If you didn't already know what Florida's state flower was, you might have been able to guess it, since the state is almost synonymous with oranges. The orange blossom was declared Florida's state flower in 1909.
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Georgia - Cherokee rose
The Cherokee rose is a reminder to the state of Georgia about the removal of the Cherokee people on the "Trail of Tears." White petals, which stand for the tears shed by Cherokee women, surround a gold center which represents the gold in the land that was taken from them.
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Hawaii - Yellow hibiscus
Though each island has its own representative flower, the yellow hibiscus has come to symbolize the entire state of Hawaii. There are many colors of hibiscus flowers, but the yellow variety is considered to be quite rare.
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Idaho - Syringa
The Syringa is only found in the western part of the United States and blooms from late May through July. The blossoming shrub became Idaho's state flower in 1931.
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Illinois - Native violet
The native violet became the official state flower of Illinois in 1908 after a vote by school children. It's considered to be one of the most commonly spotted flowers in the state of Illinois and can grow anywhere from the prairies to the forests.
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Indiana - Peony
From May to early June peonies bloom with giant, puffball flowers in shades of white, pink and red. The peony became Indiana's official state flower in 1957.
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Iowa - Wild prairie rose
Though they're called wild prairie roses, they can additionally be found in the woodlands and other areas of Iowa. This state flower is also edible and can be used in salads, or it can be candied or dried to make tea.
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Kansas - Native sunflower
Though the native sunflower has been the state flower of Kansas since 1903, it's not the only sunflower variety that can be found in the state. There are ten other perennial species that grow throughout Kansas.
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Kentucky - Goldenrod
Goldenrods bloom in Kentucky during the late summer and early fall. The Kentucky goldenrod, Solidago gigantea, is different from other goldenrods and can grow twice as tall, upwards of eight feet. It's for that reason that the Kentucky Legislature designated that specific goldenrod species as the official state flower.
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Louisiana - Magnolia
Magnolia trees can grow in different climates throughout the United States, but the waxy leaved tree flourishes in the southeastern part of the country. Louisiana designated the tree's flower, the giant magnolia with its thick petals, as the official state flower in 1900.
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Maine - Pine cone & tassel
In a state where the evergreen reigns supreme, it's only fitting that Maine's state flower is a pine cone and tassel. Though they may not officially be flowers, they were considered a floral emblem of Maine in the "National Garland of Flowers" at the 1893 World's Fair.
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Maryland - Black-eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan gets its name from the dark "eye" in the center of the flower. This yellow flower is a cousin of the sunflower and was designated as Maryland's state flower in 1918.
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Massachusetts - Mayflower
In order to grow, the mayflower requires specific conditions. They grow best in sandy, rocky soil and underneath evergreen trees. Though the mayflower has been Massachusetts' official flower since 1918, it's been considered endangered since 1925.
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Michigan - Apple blossom
Just as Arkansas was known for its abundance of apples, so is Michigan. In fact, Michigan currently ranks third in the top apple producing states behind Washington and New York state.
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Minnesota - Showy lady's slipper
When it comes to house plants, orchids are among the most difficult to maintain. There are 46 species of orchid that grow in Minnesota, one of which is the showy lady's slipper which has been the official state flower since 1902 and has been protected by state law since 1925.
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Mississippi - Magnolia
Not only is Mississippi's state flower the magnolia flower, but the magnolia tree where the flower blooms is designated the official state tree. The magnolia appears on Mississippi's bicentennial commemorative quarter and also appears in the state's nickname "The Magnolia State."
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Missouri - Hawthorn
This bushy, flowering tree can grow up to around 25 feet tall. Even though they're part of the rose family, they produce fruit similar to an apple which makes for great jams and jellies.
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Montana - Bitterroot
The bitterroot has been the official state flower of Montana since 1895. It can be found throughout the state from spring through the summer. The purple flowers are so prominent in Montana that the Bitterroot Mountains, the Bitterroot Valley and the Bitterroot River are named after this plant.
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Nebraska - Goldenrod
When the Nebraska Legislature designated the goldenrod as the official state flower in 1895, they said it was done to "foster a feeling of pride in our state, and stimulate an interest in the history and traditions of the commonwealth."
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Nevada - Big sagebrush
The big sagebrush is an evergreen plant that grows best in arid places and flowers from late summer through the fall. Commonly seen throughout the deserts of the western part of the United States, the big sagebrush was designated as the official state flower of Nevada in 1917.
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New Hampshire - Purple lilac
A hardy plant, the purple lilac was chosen in 1919 to be the official state flower to represent the resilience of the men and women of New Hampshire. Though they're not native to North America (they're originally from Europe and Asia) they've been growing in botanical gardens in the United States as far back as the 1750s.
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New Jersey - Purple violet
The purple violet was recognized as the state flower in New Jersey as early as 1913, but it wasn't until 1971 when garden clubs pressed the Legislature to make it official. New Jersey shares the purple violet as its state flower with Illinois, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
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New Mexico - Yucca
Early settlers to New Mexico called the white flowers of the yucca "our Lord's candles." They used the plant's roots as soap and shampoo. Though the yucca comes from the same family as the lily, this plant loves hot, dry places and flourishes in the desert.
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New York - Rose
Though native species differ from continent to continent, roses can be found throughout the world. Humans have been cultivating ornamental roses for millennia, with the earliest evidence of cultivation dating back to 500 BC in the Mediterranean, Persia and China.
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North Carolina - Dogwood
The blooming of dogwood trees is a surefire sign of spring. North Carolina loves the dogwood so much, they have five festivals dedicated to it, and every year they crown a new Dogwood Queen.
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North Dakota - Wild prairie rose
In 1889, the University of North Dakota chose pink and green as their school colors because of the wild prairie rose. They said it was "suggestive of our green prairies and rosy prospects." In 1907, that symbolic meaning was used to support the approval of the wild prairie rose as North Dakota's official state flower.
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Ohio - Scarlet carnation
The scarlet carnation, also known as the Lamborn Carnation, became the state flower of Ohio in 1904. It was adopted three years after President McKinley's assassination and was seen as a "token of love and reverence to the memory of William McKinley."
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Oklahoma - Oklahoma rose
The most recent state flower adoption in the U.S. was the Oklahoma rose in 2004, replacing the longtime state flower, mistletoe (which remains the official floral emblem). The rose was selected to succeed mistletoe because citizens supported the idea of recognizing a flower that's more cultivated and not seen as a parasite, like mistletoe was.
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Oregon - Oregon grape
Similar to English holly, the Oregon grape is an ornamental plant with little yellow flowers that turn to dark purple berries in the fall. Though they're a bit too acidic to use for baking or winemaking, settlers enjoyed using them in the kitchen.
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Pennsylvania - Mountain laurel
If you believe in parallel universes, there is likely an alternative timeline where the pink azalea became Pennsylvania's state flower and not the mountain laurel. That's because in 1933, two bills were passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly naming the state flower – one was for the mountain laurel and the other was for the pink azalea.
Governor Gifford Pinchot ended up signing the one that declared the mountain laurel as Pennsylvania's official state flower into law.
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Rhode Island - Violet
There are anywhere from 400 to 500 species of violets in the world, most of which grow in the northern hemisphere. The violet was chosen by Rhode Island school children to be the state flower in 1897, but it didn't become official until 1968.
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South Carolina - Yellow jessamine
The yellow jessamine, also known as the Carolina jessamine, is native to the state of South Carolina, which is one of the reasons it was chosen to be the state flower in 1924. It is also nicknamed the trumpet vine because its yellow flowers look somewhat like trumpets.
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South Dakota - Pasque flower
The pasque flower is a vibrant purple flower with a bright yellow center that grows wild in the prairies of South Dakota. Also known as the Easter flower, it is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, sometimes before the snow is gone.
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Tennessee - Purple iris
Irises come in many colors, and though the purple iris is accepted as the state flower of Tennessee, a color is technically not specified in the official legislation.
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Texas - Texas bluebonnet
The bluebonnet is named after what it resembles – a woman's blue sunbonnet. Blooming in early spring, the bluebonnet became one of Lady Bird Johnson's favorite flowers. When Lady Bird first arrived to Austin, Texas, she saw a field of bluebonnets as her plane landed. It is said in that moment, she fell in love with the city instantly.
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Utah - Sego lily
Utah's official state bird (the California gull) and official state flower were both chosen because of a devastating plague of crickets that devoured crops throughout Utah in the 1800s. Whereas the California gull helped to destroy the population of crickets by eating the invasive pests, the sego lily was eaten and served as sustenance to the people of Utah.
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Vermont - Red clover
The red clover was chosen as the state flower to represent Vermont's farms and fields. The state has around 700 dairy farms and grows clover to help feed cows and other farm animals.
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Virginia - Dogwood
The dogwood is not only Virginia's official state flower, it's also Virginia's official state tree. The wood of a dogwood tree is very hard and was often used to make things like handles for for tools, arrows and loom shuttles.
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Washington - Pacific rhododendron
During the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, there was an exhibit where each state had to submit a representative floral emblem. The rhododendron was selected to symbolize Washington state, but it wasn't made official until 1952.
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West Virginia - Rhododendron
Choosing the state flower of West Virginia was held up to a vote in 1903. The rhododendron won, beating out honeysuckle and the wild rose.
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Wisconsin - Wood violet
Though it goes by a different name, the wood violet is also known as the purple violet. The flower was selected by school children in 1908, and it became the official state flower in 1909. It was selected because it represented Wisconsin's scenic beauty.
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Wyoming - Indian paintbrush
Though its bright petals that splay upwards from its stem look like a paintbrush, it also looks like a flame, which is why the Indian paintbrush is also known as prairie-fire. This plant is native to the western parts of North and South America, and there are upwards of 200 different species that grow as far north as Alaska and as far south as the Andes mountain range.