Can You Guess Your State Flower?

california poppies

california poppies by roger_ipa (CC BY-NC-SA)

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california poppies
california poppies by roger_ipa (CC BY-NC-SA)

Flower Familiarity

Each of the United States has designated an official flower, many before the dawn of the 20th century. While many residents likely know their state flowers, probably few know much about each bloom's history or uses, or the sometimes-fascinating stories behind how they were chosen. From apple blossoms to yucca, here are our 50 states' official flowers, plus some interesting facts about each.

Related: In Full Bloom: Photos of Gorgeous Botanical Gardens in All 50 States

Camellia by junichiro aoyama (CC BY)

Alabama: Camellia

The Cotton State's flower is the Camellia japonica, one of more than 250 species of the genus. In addition to being Alabama's official bloom, camellias are considered an important part of Chinese culture and have been featured on many Japanese stamps.

Alpine Forget-Me-Not
Alpine Forget-Me-Not by Meneerke bloem (CC BY-SA)

Alaska: Alpine Forget-Me-Not

This delicate perennial was adopted as Alaska's state flower in 1917. Its genus name, Myosotis, comes from the ancient Greek for "mouse's ear."

Arizona: Saguaro Cactus Blossom
Arizona: Saguaro Cactus Blossom by raelb Follow (CC BY-NC-SA)

Arizona: Saguaro Cactus Blossom

The cactus that Arizona's waxy and white state flower blooms on can grow up to 40 feet tall and live more than 150 years. The flowers usually bloom in April through June. (Want to see more of the saguaro cactus? Be sure to check out Stunning Photos of Every National Park in America).

apple blossom
apple blossom by Rosser1954 (None)

Arkansas: Apple Blossom

The Bear State named this tree blossom its official state flower in 1901 after a debate between it and the passion flower. The apple blossom's most fiery defender wrote that the passion flower was "a pretty but rank and disagreeable weed, which isn't a native of Arkansas at all but will grow anywhere the farmer's hoe will let it."

california poppy
california poppy by docentjoyce (CC BY)
Rocky Mountain Columbine
Rocky Mountain Columbine by Rob Duval (CC BY-SA)

Colorado: Rocky Mountain Columbine

Though it was named the state's flower in 1899, the columbine will forever be linked with the Columbine High School shooting that occurred 100 years later. At memorials dedicated to the victims, visitors leave Columbine flowers and seed packets, and a state license plate adorned with an image of the flower conveys this simple message: "Respect life."

Mountain Laurel
Mountain Laurel by Tim Singer (CC BY-NC-SA)

Connecticut: Mountain Laurel

This gorgeous evergreen shrub flower blooms in May and June and is poisonous to a number of animal species, including horses, goats, cattle, deer, monkeys, and humans.

Peach Blossom
Peach Blossom by pepperberryfarm (CC BY-NC-ND)

Delaware: Peach Blossom

While most people associate peaches with another state, Delaware was known as The Peach State well before Georgia. The flower was adopted officially in 1953 when there were more than 800,000 peach trees in the state's orchards. Interestingly, the state fruit is a strawberry.

Orange Blossom
Orange Blossom by (CC BY-NC-SA)

Florida: Orange Blossom

While the orange blossom was selected as the official flower by the legislature in 1909 for its abundance in central and southern parts of the state, Florida is one of around a dozen states that also has a state wildflower. The coreopsis, chosen in 1991, is used in many of The Gulf State's roadside plantings and highway beautification programs.

Cherokee Rose
Cherokee Rose by Courtney McGough (CC BY-NC-ND)

Georgia: Cherokee Rose

The Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs suggested this bloom as the state's official flower, and a resolution formally approved it Aug. 18, 1916. The Cherokee rose, as noted by the authors of the resolution, "is indigenous to its soil, and grows with equal luxuriance in every county of the State." Georgia also has a state wildflower: the native azalea.

Pua Aloalo
Pua Aloalo by Rosa Say (CC BY-NC-ND)

Hawaii: Pua Aloalo

One of seven species of hibiscus native to the state, this flower, also known as the Yellow Hibiscus and Ma'o Hau Hele, is legally protected as an endangered species. Each Hawaiian island also has its own official flower. 

Syringa by Brent Miller (CC BY-NC-ND)

Idaho: Syringa

The Gem State's official flower, also known as Philadelphus lewisii, was first collected by explorer Meriwether Lewis in 1806 during the Lewis and Clark expedition. Native Americans used the plants' stems to make arrows, pipe stems, combs, and more.  

violet by Dendroica cerulea (CC BY-NC-SA)

Illinois: Violet

Illinois shares the violet as a state flower with three other states, but it was the first state to choose it in 1908. The flower — which isn't always purple in hue — is also sometimes called a Johnny jump-up. Little known fact: Violets, pound for pound, actually have more vitamin C than oranges.

Peony by Bob Gutowski (CC BY-NC-SA)

Indiana: Peony

The non-native peony replaced the zinnia as Indiana's state flower in 1957 (in fact, Indiana has had a total of four official state flowers). Before the peony winning the title, the tulip tree blossom and dogwood blossom were front-runner candidates. The reason the peony succeeded where others didn't? An Indiana politician who also was a peony farmer persuaded the House Public Policy Committee to amend it before passing.

Wild Rose
Wild Rose by jinjian liang (CC BY-NC-ND)

Iowa: Wild Rose

This was designated as The Hawkeye State's state flower in 1897, in part because it had been used on the silver service the state presented to the USS Iowa battleship that year. No specific species of wild rose was named by the General Assembly, but the wild prairie rose is most often cited as Iowa's official flower.

Sunflowers by LynnK827 (CC BY-NC-ND)

Kansas: Wild Native Sunflower

The wild native sunflower was associated with Kansas well before the state designated it the state flower. While a newspaper editor suggested as early as 1880 that it become "the emblem of our state," an 1895 state law called it a "noxious weed" and called for it to be destroyed. Sunflower admirers won out, however, and the official declaration was made in 1903.

Goldenrod by Tim Tonjes (CC BY-NC-SA)

Kentucky: Goldenrod

Kentucky shares the goldenrod as its state flower with one other state. Goldenrods display their beautiful blooms in the late summer, and the plant has many functional uses. Its blooms are edible, it's often used in making dark-colored honey, and Thomas Edison made early automobile tires using rubber extracted from the plants' leaves.

Magnolia by pontla (CC BY-NC-ND)

Louisiana: Magnolia

Anyone who's ever visited Louisiana won't be surprised to hear that the fragrant magnolia is the Bayou State's official flower. Designated in 1900, Louisiana is one of the state's that, 90 years later, also declared an official wildflower: the Louisiana iris.

White Pine Cone and Tassel
White Pine Cone and Tassel by Eli Sagor (CC BY-NC)

Maine: White Pine Cone and Tassel

The Pine Tree State's official flower isn't actually a flower at all. The White Pine Cone and Tassel is considered a gymnosperm in the world of botany, whereas flowers are angiosperms. When Maine residents voted on an official state flower in the 1890s, the White Pine Cone and Tassel edged out the goldenrod and apple blossom

Black-Eyed Susan
Black-Eyed Susan by Dendroica cerulea (CC BY-NC-SA)

Maryland: Black-Eyed Susan

Designated Maryland's official state flower in 1918, the black-eyed Susan is also a medicinal plant that's been used by Native American tribes such as the Ojibwa, Menominee, and Potawatomi as an astringent, snake-bite poultice, and diuretic, as well as an ingredient in treatments for colds and earaches.

Mayflower by Jim Sorbie (CC BY)

Massachusetts: Mayflower

It should probably come as no surprise that the state where pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 named the Mayflower as its official flower in 1918. (It is also the official flower of Nova Scotia.) Just seven years later, the bloom was placed on the endangered species list, where it remains to this day — Massachusetts residents caught digging up the plant are fined $50.

apple blossom
apple blossom by to.wi (CC BY-NC-SA)

Michigan: Apple Blossom

Michigan shares the apple blossom as its state flower with Arkansas. Designated in 1897, the resolution noted: "Our blossoming apple trees add much to the beauty of our landscape, and Michigan apples have gained a worldwide reputation." Just over 100 years later, the endangered and native dwarf Lake Iris was designated Michigan's state wildflower.

Related: 20 Prime Places to See Beautiful Cherry Blossoms

Pink & White Lady Slipper
Pink & White Lady Slipper by Orchidhunter1939 (CC BY-SA)

Minnesota: Pine and White Lady Slipper

Though not written into law as the Land of 10,000 Lakes' state flower until 1967, the pink and white lady slipper had been considered an emblem of the state since at least the late 19th century. The flower is from the orchid family and is now considered rare due to habitat loss and other factors.

magnolia by Paxsimius (CC BY-SA)

Mississippi: Magnolia

It probably comes as no shock that The Magnolia State shares its state flower with Louisiana, but did you know that the fossil record shows that magnolia plants have existed for at least 20 million years? Also, today there are more than 300 species of wild magnolia, but nearly half — 147 — are in danger of extinction.

Hawthorn flowers
Hawthorn flowers by Eugene Zelenko (CC BY-SA)

Missouri: White Hawthorn Blossom

More than 75 species of this plant, which is part of the rose family and related closely to apples, grow in Missouri, particularly in the Ozarks, and flower between April and June. While well represented within the state, some varieties such as the littlehip hawthorn are on the verge of extinction.

Bitterroot by David A. Hofmann (CC BY-NC-ND)

Montana: Bitterroot

Native to Montana, the bitterroot was adopted as the state flower in 1895, but was popular among Native American tribes as an edible flower well before then, and Meriwether Lewis ate bitterroot during the latter part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805-1806. Three major features of the state — the Bitterroot Mountains, Bitterroot River, and Bitterroot Valley — are named after the flower.

Goldenrod by Elaine (CC BY-NC-SA)

Nebraska: Goldenrod

The Cornhusker State is the state sharing the goldenrod with Kentucky as its official flower. The flower has a fascinating history. It's been considered a many-faceted medicinal herb for centuries — used for wound care due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and astringent qualities, it's earned the nickname "woundwort." It was also used in 18th-century teas called Liberty Teas, which were created after the black tea-destroying Boston Tea Party of 1773.

sagebrush by Joel Hoffman (CC BY-NC-ND)

Nevada: Sagebrush

Sagebrush was declared Nevada's state flower in 1917. An aromatic shrub, sagebrush's yellow, tubular flowers bloom in the late summer and early fall. The state's flag features two flowering sagebrush branches.

purple lilac
purple lilac by Rachel (CC BY-NC-SA)

New Hampshire: Purple Lilac

Also known as Syringa vulgaris, the purple lilac became New Hampshire's official flower in 1919, beating out many other blooms including the apple blossom, purple aster, wood lily, Mayflower, goldenrod, wild pasture rose, evening primrose, and buttercup. The lilac was chosen, says New Hampshire historian Leon Anderson, because it "is symbolic of that hardy character of the men and women of the Granite State."

violet by Maia C (CC BY-NC-ND)

New Jersey: Violet

New Jersey is the second state in this list to claim Viola sororia as its state flower. Though a resolution passed in 1913 adopting the violet as the state flower, it wasn't until the early 1970s that the designation was made permanent and voted into law. 

Yucca Flower
Yucca Flower by DM (CC BY-ND)

New Mexico: Soaptree Yucca Flower

The clustered white blooms of the yucca were chosen by a student survey as New Mexico's state flower in 1927 and supported by the New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs. As part of the Asparagaceae plant family, the yucca's flowers are edible.

Related: 22 Tips to Keep Gardening Dirt Cheap

red rose
red rose by Jörg Kanngießer (CC BY-NC)

New York: Rose

In all their many colors and colors, wild or cultivated, roses are New York's state flower, so designated in 1955. The rose is also the official national flower of the United States.

dogwood by laura.bell (CC BY-NC-ND)

North Carolina: Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida was chosen as North Carolina's state flower in 1941, and today the state notes that "the Dogwood is one of the most prevalent trees in North Carolina and can be found in all parts of the state from the mountains to the coast." Like other states, North Carolina chose a lily — the Carolina lily — as its official state wildflower in 2003.

wild prairie rose
wild prairie rose by Alexwcovington (CC BY-SA)

North Dakota: Wild Prairie Rose

The Roughrider State shares its official state flower with Iowa. Chosen in 1907, the wild prairie rose grows in pastures and native meadows and near roadsides in North Dakota.

red carnation
red carnation by カールおじさん (CC BY-SA)

Ohio: Scarlet Carnation

Chosen in 1904, Ohio is the only state to adopt a carnation as its state flower, and for very personal reasons. It was selected in honor of President William McKinley, who was born in the Buckeye State and assassinated in 1901. McKinley, notes, "liked to wear red carnations stuck in his buttonhole on the lapel of his jacket."

Related: First Tastes: Favorite Foods of 21 U.S. Presidents

Red rose
Red rose by T.Kiya (CC BY-SA)

Oklahoma: Oklahoma Rose

Oklahoma's state flower is somewhat more storied than most. What is now considered the state's floral emblem — the parasitic mistletoe — was the state's often-controversial official flower for quite a long time. Through the years many other blooms were proposed to upset the mistletoe, including daisies, roses, sweet pea, yucca, and even the alfalfa blossom. But it wasn't until 2004 that a winner emerged when Gov. Brad Henry signed a bill making the Oklahoma Rose the Sooner State's official flower. 

 Oregon Grape
Oregon Grape by Meggar (CC BY-SA)

Oregon: Oregon Grape

The Oregon Grape has waxy green leaves, clustered yellow blooms in the spring, and edible blue-hued berries in the late summer and fall. It was used by Native Americans and the ancient Chinese as a medicinal plant for treatment of psoriasis, stomach and mood issues, and more.

mountain laurel
mountain laurel by Arx Fortis (CC BY-SA)

Pennsylvania: Mountain Laurel

The mountain laurel, which blooms in the Keystone State's mountainsides every spring, was named the state flower in 1933. Legend has it that the mountain laurel had some initial competition in the pink azalea, with the Pennsylvania General Assembly sending the governor two bills naming the two different flowers, and Kalmia latifolia taking the title. 

Violet by Miria Grunick (CC BY-NC-SA)

Rhode Island: Violet

Tick off one more state for the violet; Rhode Island is the third out of four states on our list to name it as an official state flower. It was the last to do so, however, adopting it in 1968.

Yellow Jessamine
Yellow Jessamine by John 'K' (CC BY-NC-ND)

South Carolina: Yellow Jessamine

Chosen in 1924, South Carolina's native yellow jessamine has trumpet-shaped yellow flowers that bloom in late winter and early spring. Along with the palmetto tree and state bird, the Carolina wren, yellow jessamine is featured on South Carolina's U.S. Mint-printed quarters. Though beautiful, it should be noted that the flower's sunny blossoms are poisonous and can produce an allergic reaction if touched.

American Pasque
American Pasque by Hillarie (CC BY-NC-ND)

South Dakota: American Pasque

When American pasques, also known as May Day flowers, bloom in South Dakota, it's usually heralded as one of the first signs of spring. Chosen in 1903, the flowers are reported to have many medicinal uses once dried — before that they are considered toxic and can produce skin irritation when handled.

Iris by Fred (CC BY)

Tennessee: Iris

Though there are about 170 species of iris, the purple iris is widely considered to be the Volunteer State's official floral representative. Interestingly, Tennessee has two official state wildflowers: the passion flower and the Tennessee coneflower.

bluebonnet by Stephanie (CC BY-NC-ND)

Texas: Bluebonnet

Anyone who's ever spent any time in Texas won't be surprised to learn that the bluebonnet is the Lone Star State's official flower. The appearance of these blooms in spring, which spread through fields and inspire many a photo shoot, also brings forth the annual Bluebonnet Festival, which draws around 30,000 attendees. (Unfortunately, the festival was canceled this year due to concerns over the coronavirus.)

Sego Lily
Sego Lily by C.Maylett (CC BY-SA)

Utah: Sego Lily

Native to Utah and chosen to represent the state in 1911, the white sego lily, aka Calochortus nuttallii, is named for English botanist and zoologist Thomas Nuttall. Interesting fact: Utah is one of the eight U.S. states that also has designated a state firearm: in this case, the M1911 pistol.

Red Clover
Red Clover by Tim Tonjes (CC BY-NC-ND)

Vermont: Red Clover

Vermont adopted the red clover, which is actually more pink than red, as its state flower in 1894. An edible bloom, the red clover is often used as a culinary garnish. Its petals can be ground into flour, and it's also used in jellies, teas, and essential oils.

Dogwood by David Hoffman (CC BY-NC-ND)

Virginia: American Dogwood

Virginia chose the American Dogwood in 1918 as its state flower and doubled down on it by choosing it as its state tree in 1956.

Coast Rhododendron
Coast Rhododendron by T*C*W* (CC BY-NC-ND)

Washington: Coast Rhododendron

In 1892, Washingtonian women couldn't yet vote, but they were allowed to choose the state flower as part of a floral exhibit that would be entered into the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. After narrowing down choices to clover and the "rhodie," women voted in the latter. In 1959, that choice was made even more specific when the legislature designated the native Rhododendron macrophyllum as the Evergreen State's official flower.

Rhododendron by Arx Fortis (CC BY-SA)

West Virginia: Rhododendron

A "rhodie" is also the state flower of West Virginia, adopted in 1903 after a vote by public school students. It joins the sugar maple tree as the Mountain State's official flora.

Wood Violet
Wood Violet by Maia C (CC BY-NC-ND)

Wisconsin: Wood Violet

The fourth state in this list to name a violet as the state flower, Wisconsin gets a bit more specific by designating the wood violet, or Viola sororia. An edible flower, the wood violet was used by the Cherokee to treat colds and headaches, and its flowers are sometimes used to make jelly and candy. 

Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush by rumolay (CC BY-NC-ND)

Wyoming: Indian Paintbrush

Adopted formally as the state flower in 1917, the Indian Paintbrush beat out other flowers such as the columbine and fringed gentian to become the Cowboy's State's official bloom. This species is native to many other western states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah.