State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide

By Benjamin F. Shearer; Jerrie Yehling Smith et al. | Go to book overview

6 State and Territory Flowers

Reasons for selecting a particular state flower are as varied as their colors and varieties. Some flowers have historical significance--the golden poppy caught the attention of early explorers in California who nicknamed the state the Land of Fire upon observing its golden blooms spread across the countryside. The mountain laurel, state flower of Connecticut, was first discovered by the Swedish explorer, Peter Kalm, who sent it to Linnaeus in 1750 for identification. Kansas designated the wild sunflower as a symbolic emblem of early Kansas settlement.

School children and agriculturalists in Delaware lobbied for the peach blossom because the peach was often associated with the state. Florida, of course, named the orange blossom as its state flower in recognition of the orange industry. The apple blossom, named as the state flower of Michigan, pays tribute to their apple industry. Proud of its pine forests, Maine designated the pine cone and tassel as its floral emblem.

A commercial peony grower in Indiana convinced fellow state representatives to name the peony the state flower, in spite of strong opposition. It seems likely, however, that naturalists will try again to see that a flower native to the state will be named the state flower.

Many states seemed to have chosen flowers on the basis of their beauty, such as New York's selection of the rose, Minnesota's pink and white lady slipper, and New Hampshire's purple lilac. Hawaii not only chose a state flower, the hibiscus, but also designated an official flower for each of its eight islands.

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State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - State and Territory Names and Nicknames 1
  • Notes 19
  • 2 - State and Territory Mottoes 23
  • Notes 35
  • 3 - State and Territory Seals 39
  • Notes 71
  • 4 - State and Territory Flags 73
  • 5 - State and Territory Capitols 103
  • Notes 125
  • 6 - State and Territory Flowers 129
  • Notes 141
  • 7 - State and Territory Trees 145
  • Notes 164
  • 8 - State and Territory Birds 167
  • Notes 194
  • 9 - State and Territory Songs 197
  • Notes 207
  • 10 - State and Territory Legal Holidays and Observances 209
  • Notes 264
  • 11 - State and Territory License Plates 269
  • Notes 290
  • 12 - State and Territory Postage Stamps 295
  • 13 - Miscellaneous Official State and Territory Designations 309
  • Notes 327
  • 14 - State and Territory Fairs and Festivals 331
  • Notes 385
  • Selected Bibliography of State and Territory Histories 389
  • Index 413
  • About the Authors 438
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