Official state flowers exist for each state in the union and also for some United States territories, according to the state flower list published by the United States National Arboretum. In addition to United States flowers, each state has an official tree and some states have even added a wildflower to the list of their official state flowers. To learn more about the flower for your state or how to use state flowers to color garden areas, continue reading.
State Flowers to Color the Garden
United States state flower list information indicates that state flowers are not necessarily native to the state or even to the country. In fact, some adopted plants are not originally United States flowers, but have adapted well to the state that has chosen them. So why do states adopt state flowers in the first place? Official state flowers were chosen because of the beauty and color they provide, directing the gardener to use state flowers to color garden areas or surrounding landscape. It should be noted that several states have chosen the same flower as the official state flower, including Louisiana and Mississippi, both choosing the magnolia as their official state flowers. One state, Maine, chose the cone of a white pine, which is not a flower at all. Arkansas, North Carolina, and a few others chose flowers from trees as their official states' flowers. The official United States flower is the rose, but many believed it should be the marigold. Such controversies resulted in the adoption of some state flowers. In 1919, Tennessee school children were allowed to choose a state flower and picked the passionflower, which enjoyed a brief period as the state flower. Years later, garden groups in Memphis, where the growth of iris flowers had gained recognition, made a successful move to change the iris to the state flower. This was done in 1930, leading to many arguments among Tennessee residents. Many citizens of that day believed choosing a state flower was just another way for elected officials to waste time.
List of American State Flowers
Below you will find the official list of United States flowers:
- Alabama - Camellia (Camellia japonica) flowers vary from white to pink, red, and even yellow.
- Alaska - Forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris subsp. Asiatica) has lovely bluish flowers, whose seed pods stick to nearly anything, making them difficult to forget.
- Arizona - Saguaro cactus bloom (Carnegia gigantean) opens at night to reveal waxy, white, aromatic flower.
- Arkansas - Apple blossoms (Malus domestica) have pink and white petals and green leaves.
- California - Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) flower color ranges from yellow to orange in this variety.
- Colorado - Rocky Mountain columbine (Aquilegia caerulea) has beautiful white and lavender flowers.
- Connecticut - Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is a native shrub producing masses of fragrant white and pink blossoms.
- Delaware - Peach blossoms (Prunus persica) are produced in early spring and are delicate pink in color.
- District of Columbia - Rose (Rosa 'American Beauty'), having numerous varieties and colors, are considered one of the most popular and widely cultivated flowers in the world.
- Florida - Orange blossoms (Citrus sinensis) are the white and highly fragrant flowers produced from orange trees.
- Georgia - Cherokee rose (Rosa laevigata) has a waxy, white bloom with golden center and numerous thorns along its stem.
- Hawaii - Pua aloalo (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is a yellow hibiscus which is native to the islands.
- Idaho - Syringa mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii) is a branching shrub with clusters of white, fragrant flowers.
- Illinois - Purple violet (Viola) is the most easily grown wildflower with showy purple spring blooms.
- Indiana - Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) blooms in various shades of red, pink, and white as well as single and double forms.
- Iowa - Wild prairie rose (Rosa arkansana) is a summer blooming wildflower found in varying shades of pink and yellow stamens in the center.
- Kansas - Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) can be yellow, red, orange, or other colors and are most often tall, though smaller varieties are available.
- Kentucky - Goldenrod (Solidago) has bright, golden yellow flower heads that bloom in late summer.
- Louisiana - Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) produces large, fragrant, white blossoms.
- Maine - White pinecone and tassel (Pinus strobes) bears fine, bluish green needles with long, slender cones.
- Maryland - Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) has attractive yellow flowers with dark purplish brown centers.
- Massachusetts - Mayflower (Epigaea repens) blooms are small and white or pink, commonly flowering in May.
- Michigan - Apple blossom (Malus domestica) is the pink and white blooms found on the apple tree.
- Minnesota - Pink and white lady slipper (Cypripedium reginae) wildflowers are found living in bogs, swamps, and damp woods.
- Mississippi - Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) produces large, fragrant, white blossoms.
- Missouri - Hawthorn (genus Crataegus) flowers are white and grow in bunches on hawthorn trees.
- Montana - Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) consists of beautiful purplish pink flowers.
- Nebraska - Goldenrod (Solidago gigantean) has bright, golden yellow flower heads that bloom in late summer.
- New Hampshire - Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) blooms are highly fragrant, and though most often purple or lilac in color, white, pale yellow, pink, and even dark burgundy are also found.
- New Jersey - Violet (Viola sororia) is the most easily grown wildflower with showy purple spring blooms.
- New Mexico - Yucca (Yucca glauca) is a symbol of sturdiness and beauty with its sharp-edged foliage and pale ivory flowers.
- New York - Rose (genus Rosa), having numerous varieties and colors, are considered one of the most popular and widely cultivated flowers in the world.
- North Carolina - Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), which appear in early spring, are most often found in white, as well as shades of pink or red.
- North Dakota - Wild prairie rose (Rosa arkansana) is a summer blooming wildflower found in varying shades of pink and yellow stamens in the center.
- Ohio - Scarlet carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) is an eye-popping red carnation variety with gray-blue foliage.
- Oklahoma - Mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum), with its dark green leaves and white berries, is the mainstay of Christmas décor.
- Oregon - Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) has waxy green leaves that resemble holly and bears dainty yellow flowers that turn into dark blue berries.
- Pennsylvania - Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) produces beautiful pink blooms reminiscent to that of rhododendrons.
- Rhode Island - Violet (Viola palmate) is the most easily grown wildflower with showy purple spring blooms.
- South Carolina - Yellow jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) vine bears a profusion of yellow, funnel-shaped flowers with an intoxicating scent.
- South Dakota - Pasque flower (Anemone patens var. multifida) is a small, lavender flower and among the first to bloom in spring.
- Tennessee - Iris (Iris germanica) has several different colors among them, but it's the purple German iris that's among this state's favorite.
- Texas - Texas blue bonnet (genus Lupinus) is supposedly named for its color and resemblance of blooms to a woman's sunbonnet.
- Utah - Sego lily (genus Calochortus) has white, lilac, or yellow flowers and grows 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) high.
- Vermont - Red clover (Trifolium pretense) is similar to its white counterpart though the flowers are dark pink with a paler base.
- Virginia - Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), which appear in early spring, are most often found in white, as well as shades of pink or red.
- Washington - Coast rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) has beautiful pinkish colored to purple blooms.
- West Virginia - Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum) recognized by its large, dark, evergreen leaves and, in this variety, its pale pink or white blooms, mottled with red or yellow flecks.
- Wisconsin - Violet (Viola sororia) is the most easily grown wildflower with showy purple spring blooms.
- Wyoming - Indian paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia) has bright red flower bracts reminiscent of a red-soaked paintbrush.
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Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.