The first installment of our state flower series is here! While we could just do one big state flower list like other websites, we want to give a bit more time to each flower, including its history. State flowers are a great way to honor your state at a dinner or event, or a lovely sentiment when sent to a loved one with state pride. Here are the Alabama, Alaska and Arizona State flowers:
Alabama – State Flower: camellia, State Wildflower: Oak-leaf hydrangea
The Alabama State flower is represented by not one, but two flowers. The camellia was listed as the state flower in 1927, being amended and specified to the Camellia japonica L, or the Japanese Camellia, specifically in 1999. With some residence not being happy with an Asian plant being the official Alabama State flower, the oak-leaf hydrangea was concurrently instated as the official State Wildflower. There are several looks to the Japanese Camellia as enthusiasts cultivate them to their liking. Most often, they are seen in varieties of pinks, reds and whites, and are a shrub-based flower.
The Oak-leaf hydrangea is one of the rare hydrangeas that are native to America. Oak-leaf hydrangeas are in bloom most of year, starting off with white blooms in the warmer seasons, turning pink in the fall and becoming a thin brown in winter. Whereas many are used to seeing hydrangeas as big balls of blooms, the Oak-leaf hydrangea is typically cone-shaped.
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Alaska – State Flower: Forget-me-not
The state flower of Alaska is the alpine forget-me-not. There are over 50 different types of forget-me-nots so it is no wonder that Alaska needed to make that specification! The alpine variety are blue in color, with yellow centers. Forget-me-nots have a rich history and are featured in many folklore and mythical stories. According to German legend, God was naming all of the plants when one of the unnamed plants cried out, “Forget-me-not, O Lord”, and so they were named. Another tale from medieval Germany goes that a knight was out for a walk with his beloved when he stooped over to pick a flower for her. Because his armor was so heavy, he fell into the river and shouted “Forget-me-not” before tossing her the flower and drowning. After that it was worn by women as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love.
Arizona – Saguaro Cactus Blossom
Arizona’s state flower is the saguaro cactus blossom and the state of Arizona takes that very seriously! It is illegal to harm a saguaro in any way, and special permits have to be secured in order to move or destroy a saguaro for the purposes of new development such as houses. The saguaro blossom was officially named the state flower of Arizona in 1931 and have a very short life span. Many are familiar with saguaro cactus itself, as it is the most common cactus associated with Arizona, with its unique “arms” that grow in several directions. The saguaro blossoms have a very short lifespan, typically having their first bloom at night, the blossom closes permanently the next day. Conversely, the cactus itself can take upwards of 75 years to develop their first side arm, and will live up to 150 years. Perhaps one of its most famous features is that it holds massive amounts of rainwater that it slowly consumes, making it well-suited for a dessert climate.
We hope you enjoyed this first installment of our state flower series, stay tuned for Arkansas, California and Colorado!