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State Flowers

The natural beauty of the American fauna has captivated our hearts, minds and eyes to such a degree that every state has adopted a flower symbolizing its place in the world.

USA flag with flowers

The first state to embrace a flower as its official bloom was Vermont in 1894, the Red Clover. The reddish pink herb usually blooms in May and has strong healing qualities used to treat high cholesterol, asthma, and cancer prevention among others. After Vermont made its 19th-Century choice, four states quickly followed suit. In 1895, nearby Maine embraced the White Pine Cone and Tassel, Montana recognized Bitterroot, Delaware the Peach Blossom, and Nebraska selected Goldenrod. Minnesota's pink and white Lady Slipper is the country's rarest state flower. The plant blooms in late June and early July and can take up to 16 years to yield its first blossom. This rare, wild orchid can be found in open fens, bogs, swamps, and damp woods where there is plenty of natural light. It averages a 50-year life cycle and may live as long as 100 years in some cases. The Lady Slipper has been under the state's protection since 1952. Rhode Island was the last state in the union to recognize a flower as its standard bearer. The Violet was voted Little Rhody's flower by school children in 1897, but it wasn't officially recognized until 1968.

Also late to the flower bed, the United States didn't designate a national flower until the 1980s. In 1985, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution asking the president to declare the Rose as the country's national floral emblem. Pres. Ronald Reagan signed the proclamation in the White House Rose Garden in 1986. In 2014, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, at age 92, laid a dozen white roses on the former president's grave on the 10-year anniversary of his passing. The rose has been a native plant to North America for as long as 35 million years.

Since the dawn of time, people have been fascinated by the inherent beauty of flowers. The first recorded plant collectors were Egyptian soldiers under Pharaoh Thuthmose III from 1425 BC to 1479 BC. His army was chronicled to have brought back at least 300 varieties as booty from war with Syria. Today, we fill our gardens and window sills with their colorful beauty that enhances and lifts our daily spirits. As history tells us, flowers can symbolize the natural beauty of a place, time and people.

Below is a list of each state and its official flower.

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