State flowers are the official floral emblems of a state. The flowers are usually chosen because they’re from native to that area, but that isn’t always the case. 41 different flowers represent the 50 states of America.
Alabama named the Camellia (Japanica L.) its state flower in 1991. Before 1991, a specific species of Camellia was not listed. The Camellia is a shrub that loves the rain, partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. It blooms from October to March and is commonly referred to as the rose of winter. The Camellia blooms in a variety of colors including white, pink, red, and less commonly, yellow. A sweet tasting cooking oil called ‘tea oil’ is made from certain varieties of the Camellia, but is not well known outside of Southern China.
Alaska’s state flower is the Forget-me-not (Myosotis Alpestris) and was made official in 1949. The Forget-me-not is bright blue, blooms in the spring and likes partial shade and moist soil. The plant has little round leaves that resemble a mouse’s ear, which is what myosotis alpestris means in Greek.
Arkansas and Michigan share the same state flower, the Apple Blossom (Malus Coronaria). Arkansas made it official in 1901 and Michigan in 1897. The flower is usually pink to white, blooms during April to June and prefers moist soil.
California’s state flower is the California Poppy (Eschscholtzia Californica), made official in 1903. Its flowers are orange, it blooms from February to September, likes full sun and sandy, poor soil. The California Poppy closes its blooms at night and will sometimes stay closed if the weather isn’t right. The Native American tribes of California used the flower as food, medical purposes and used the pollen cosmetically.
Colorado’s state flower is the Rocky Mountain Columbine (Aquilegia Caerulea), made official in 1899. It blooms from March to July and is white and lavender in color. The Rocky Mountain Columbine prefers moist soil and filtered shade, but it can tolerate full sun if enough water is available.
Connecticut and Pennsylvania share the Mountain Laurel (Kalmia Latifolia) as their state flower. It was made official in Connecticut in 1907 and Pennsylvania in 1933. The mountain Laurel loves the sun and moist, well-drained soil. It blooms from May to July and is white and pink. The Mountain Laurel can withstand below-zero temperatures and is poisonous to certain animals and humans if ingested.
Delaware made the Peach Blossom (Prunus Persica) its official state flower in 1953. it blooms from March to May and has pink and white flowers. The Peach Blossom grows best in full sun. It is said that Native Americans distributed the Peach throughout the country as they migrated.
Florida’s state flower is the Orange Blossom (Citrus Senensis), made official in 1909. The Orange Blossom blooms in the spring and grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. The flower is white in color and has a pleasant fragrance.
Georgia’s official state flower is the Cherokee Rose (Rosa Laevigata), made official in 1916. It blooms from March to May; however, if conditions are favorable the large, white flowers will appear again in autumn. The Cherokee Rose grows best in full sun and likes well-drained, fertile soil but can adapt to other soil types.
Hawaii named the Hawaiian Hibiscus (Hibiscus Brackenridgei) its state flower in 1988. The ‘Pua Aloalo’ or the ‘Ma’o Hauhele’ species are commonly known as the official species although no distinct species was listed. Hibiscus flowers range in color but the official color of Hawaii’s flower is said to be yellow. They grow best in full sun and loose, well-drained soil. Uses of the Hawaiian Hibiscus include teas and jams and are used in medicines. The plant is endangered in its natural habitat.
Idaho’s state flower is the Syringa (Philadelphus Lewisii), more commonly known as the ‘mock orange’. It was made official in 1931. The flowers of the Syringa are white and give off a fragrance similar to the orange blossom. It is a drought tolerant plant that likes full to partial sun and blooms from April to June. When mixed in water, the leaves and bark can be used as soap.
Illinois (1907), Wisconsin (1909), Rhode Island (1968) and New Jersey (1971) all have the Purple Violet (Viola) as their state flower. The flowers are purple, bloom during March to June and prefer wet woodland and meadow areas. The petals of the Violet are edible and Native Americans used it to treat colds, headaches, coughs, sort throats and constipation. The leaves are also edible and can be used in salads and candies.
Indiana named its state flower, the Peony (Paeonia) in 1957. Its flowers can be red, pink or white and bloom from late May to June. The Peony likes sun and can grow in a variety of soil types. The plant was named after Paeon, who was a physician to the Gods. The Peony was also used in folk medicine for cramps, asthma and convulsions.
Iowa and North Dakota made the Wild Prairie Rose (Rosa Arkansana) their official flower in 1897 and 1907, respectively. The flowers range from pink to white and bloom from June to September. Wild Prairie Roses grow best in well-drained, wet soil and full sun or partial shade. Petals from the flower can be eaten and the plant was used by certain tribes to treat eye inflammation and burns.
Kansas named the Sunflower (Helianthus Annus) its official state flower in 1903. They bloom from July to September and like full sun. Obvious facts include edible seeds and yellow flowers. Sunflowers are sometimes used to remove toxins from the soil and were used after the Chernobyl disaster for that purpose. The oil made from Sunflowers is the third most used cooking oil and the plant is currently undergoing experiments to produce hypoallergenic rubber.
Kentucky and Nebraska share the Goldenrod (Solidago Altissima) as their state flower. Kentucky made it official in 1926 and Nebraska in 1895. The flowers are a yellow to gold color and bloom from late summer to early fall. Goldenrod has been used medicinally and certain parts can be edible if cooked properly. Thomas Edison made rubber from the plant, but his findings never got noticed even though he submitted them to the U.S. Government. Goldenrod is also commonly accused of causing hay fever in people, but that is actually caused by ragweed, which blooms around the same time.
Louisiana and Mississippi also share a state flower, the Magnolia (Magnolia Grandiflora). It was made official in 1900, Louisiana and in 1952, Mississippi. The tree blooms in the summer and has large white flowers that range from 8 to 12 inches across. Magnolias do best in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil but they can tolerate some shade and they don’t tolerate cold temperatures. It is believed to be on of the oldest flowering plants, dating back 130 million years.
Maine chose the White Pine Cone and Tassel (Pinus Strobus, Linnaeus) as its official state flower in 1895.
Maryland’s state flower is the Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta), made official in 1918. It blooms from June to August and has yellow petals with a dark brown, almost black, center. The Black-eyed Susan grows best in full sun and well-drained soil, but can tolerate some shade and poor soil. Juice from the roots has been used to treat earaches and some tribes used parts of the flower to treat snakebites, colds, and worms.
Massachusetts named the Mayflower (Epigaea Repens), also known as the ‘Trailing Arbutus’ as its state flower in 1918. The flower ranges from pink to white and is small, only about half an inch in diameter. The Mayflower likes moist soil and shade and blooms from April to May. It was named by the Pilgrims and has been on the endangered list since 1925.
Minnesota’s state flower is the Pink and White Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium Reginae), official since 1902. It blooms from June to July, and like to grow around swampy areas with plenty of sunlight. The Pink and White Lady’s Slipper is somewhat rare in the wild, and is endangered or threatened in many areas. It can take up to 16 years to produce its first flower and is slow growing.
Missouri chose the Hawthorn (Crataegus) in 1923 as its official state flower. The flower is white, blooms in late spring to mid-summer and is most common in southern Missouri. The fruit of the Hawthorn can be eaten in a number of ways and is popular in China, Mexico and the Southern U.S. (mayhaws); the leaves are also edible. Many parts of the plant are being tested to treat many types of heart conditions.
Montana made the Bitterroot (Lewisia Rediviva) its official flower in 1895. The flower has a yellow center that fades out to purple and blooms from March to July. It grows best in gravelly-dry soil and full sun. Native Americans used the roots of the Bitterroot as food.
Nevada’s flower is the Sagebrush (Artemisia Tridentata), official in 1967. It blooms from late summer and in to fall and has yellow flowers. Mostly found in the West and in arid climates. Natives used this plant to expel worms and to help treat infections despite its toxicity.
New Hampshire chose the Purple Lilac (Syringa Vulgaris) as its state flower in 1919. It’s a shrub that blooms in the spring and has purple flowers that can range in color from light purple, white, yellow, pink and even dark burgundy. They grow best in full sun and slightly dry soil. The Purple Lilac also gives off a pleasantly strong fragrance.
New Mexico’s state flower is the Yucca Flower (Yucca Glauca), made official in 1927. It blooms in early summer and its flowers are an ivory color. The roots of the Yucca flower were once used in making soup and weaving baskets and some species are edible.
New York’s flower is the Rose (Rosa), made official in 1955. Roses come in almost every color imaginable, and just about every size possible. They grow best in temperate climates, but can also tolerate tropical ones as well. Rose hips are used in numerous products and are edible. The Rose is the most popular flower in the world and has over 20,000 hybrids.
North Carolina (1941) and Virginia (1918) share the Flowering Dogwood (Cornus Florida) as their state flower. The Dogwood has white flowers that can sometimes be pink to red, and blooms from spring to summer. It’s a small tree that grows best in moist soil and sun to partial shade, and is mostly found in the Eastern U.S.
Ohio made the Scarlet Carnation (Dianthus Caryophyllus) its official flower in 1904. It grows best in full sun and neutral well-drained soil. The Scarlet Carnation was made to honor William McKinley, and Carnations in general represent several different types of holidays, meanings and groups and also come in a wide variety of colors.
Oklahoma’s state flower is the Oklahoma Rose (Rosa) made official in 2004. It’s a hybrid tea rose that was introduced in 1964 and is a dark red color.
Oregon named the Oregon Grape (Mahonia Aquifolium) its state flower in 1899. The flower is yellow and blooms in early summer and has an edible blue berry in the fall. The plant is drought resistant and can tolerate poor soil. The Oregon Grape is also and anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.
South Carolina lists the Yellow Jessamine (Geisemium Sempervirens) as its state flower and was made official in 1924. It’s a climbing plant that has yellow flowers that bloom between spring and summer and grows in warm and tropical climates. The flowers give off a strong fragrance similar to Jasmine and are used in the perfume industry. Yellow Jessamine is toxic if consumed and is even toxic to honey bees.
South Dakota’s state flower is the Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla Hirsutissima) made official in 1903. It is purple, blooms in the spring and grows in meadows and prairies. The Pasque Flower is also toxic to humans, and causes slowing of the heart, vomiting, convulsions and coma but it is used in some homeopathic medicines when diluted with water.
Tennessee made the Iris (Iridaceae) its state flower in 1933. There are many colors and species of the Iris but the Bearded Iris and the German Iris are the ones commonly referred to as the state flower. It blooms from late winter to mid-summer and can grow in a number of climate types.
Texas has named the Texas Bluebonnet (Lupinus Texensis) its state flower in 1901. It grows best in full sun and well-drained soil and blooms in early spring. It is most common in central to south Texas.
Utah’s state flower is the Sego Lily (Calochartus Nuttallii), made official in 1911. It is a white flower with a unique yellow and purple pattern towards the center and blooms in early summer. The Sego Lily grows best in well-drained, sandy soil. Natives and Mormon pioneers ate the bulbs.
Vermont named the Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense) as its state flower in 1895. It blooms from late spring to summer and grows best in full sun to partial shade. The Red Clover has been used in numerous medicines to treat things like cancer, asthma, syphilis, among others.
Washington’s state flower is the Coast Rhododendron (Rhododendron Macrophyllum), official in 1959. It is an evergreen shrub that blooms from May to June, and has pink flowers. It grows in ‘disturbed’ habitats and should not be consumed.
West Virginia has the Rhododendron (Rhododendron Maximum) for its state flower, made official in 1903. It is pink or white, and blooms from spring to summer. It is also an evergreen shrub that grows in little to no sun and well drained soil.
Wyoming lists the Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja Linariifolia) as its state flower, official since 1917. It is dark red to yellow in color and blooms in early to late summer. The roots and green parts of the plant are toxic, but Natives used to eat the flowers and used it as a hair wash and immune system enhancement.