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.