Just coincidentally, a few of the flowers that have been blooming here are State Flowers. These are four of them. Grand specimens of the State Tree of California live here, but the picture here shows unimpressive specimens that are not here, which is actually why they are amusing. The four State Flowers are those of California, Alaska, Idaho and Oregon. State Flowers of Washington and West Virginia are lacking.

1. Sequoia sempervirens, coastal redwood is not actually a State Flower, but is the State Tree of California. The two specimens at the center of this picture are unremarkable, but happen to be in Poulsbo in Washington, nearly five hundred miles north of their natural range. They seem to be three specimens only because the specimen on the right has two trunks. They are from the same old crop that went to become street trees in Los Angeles.

2. Eschscholzia californica, California poppy, as its name suggests, is the State Flower of California. It exemplifies Californian diversity, and in native to all but only two counties.

3. Myosotis sylvatica var. alpestris, forget-me-not is the State Flower of Alaska! It is not native, but it and Myosotis latifolia are naturalized. I do not know which species this is.

4. Philadelphus lewisii, mock orange is the State Flower of Idaho! It is native nearby but is naturalized here. Some bloom with fluffier double flowers like fancy modern cultivars.

5. Mahonia aquifolium, Oregon grape, like California poppy, is named for the State that it is the State Flower of, which is Oregon. It is unrelated to actual grape. It is native here.

6. Rhody is similarly unrelated to Rhododendron macrophyllum, Pacific rhododendron, which is the State Flower of Washington, or Rhododendron maximum, great or rosebay rhododendron, which is the State Flower of West Virginia. The former of these is native.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/


16 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: State Flowers

    1. Several of the State Flowers are like that. California poppy grows wild here, and used to be more abundant. When I was a kid, it got everywhere! It is pretty though. Oregon grape grows wild on the banks of the highways in Oregon. While selecting a Town Flower and a Town Tree for Los Gatos, the prerequisites were that they needed to be either native or of cultural significance. I want the cattail to be the Town Flower, even though it used to be a riparian weed where Vasona Lake is now. Not only is it native, but it was formerly a very abundant native. Besides, like Los Gatos, its name is relevant to cats. I want the Town Tree to be either peach tree or apricot tree. Neither is native, but both grew in vast orchards here. I do not remember the peach orchards because they were gone before my time, but they grew closer to town. We all remember the last remnants of the apricot orchards.


    1. The species of forget me not that is the State Flower of Alaska is native to Alaska, although this more familiar variety may not be native there. Classification is questionable. Some states do not specify species of their state flowers, such as the Yucca of New Mexico. A few species are native to New Mexico. Yucca elata is only assumed to be the real State Flower. While selecting a Town Flower for Los Gatos, the prerequisite was that it must be either native or of cultural significance. A few states have been less selective. Orange blossom is culturally significant to Florida. However, unidentified rose is neither culturally significant nor native to New York. Someone just liked it too much.

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  1. Like the way you made that link so you could include a photo of Rhody. 😉 Having state flowers is nice. We don’t have that in Germany but it should be introduced!

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    1. It was a nice tradition when horticulture was more respected. State Flowers were either native or of cultural significant to their respective states. However, a few were weirdly irrelevant, just because some politician happened to like them.

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    1. That is how I got my first alyssum, which has been there since about 1976. California poppy is less abundant than it was decades ago because it is displaced by exotic species. Also, some pollinators neglect it if they find exotic species to be more appealing.

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