Want a complete list of the official state flowers of the USA? Each state has its own unique culture and symbology. Whether you’re a history buff or creating a thoughtful gift, learning more about these different facets is an exciting experience.
We have written about all the US states in alphabetical order, you should check them out.
The concept of state flowers started in the 1800s, with some late adopters only officially declaring their flowers in the early 2000s. Here’s a complete list of the official state flowers of the USA, and how you might use them for gifts and decor.
How to Use State Flowers of USA
Using state flowers for gifts and decor is a lovely way to celebrate your roots and showcase your hometown pride.
For example, you can find flowers online to create a bouquet that represents your home state as a gift for a friend or loved one who is moving away. If you live somewhere with unprotected wildflowers as the official state bloom, you can pick your own to press or preserve for other creative gifts and decor.
Custom artwork has become a popular gift in recent years. Consider a custom piece depicting the recipient’s home state with the state flowers as an accent element.
How are State Flowers Chosen?
Each state has the opportunity to choose a flower the government or inhabitants feel represents them.
Some flowers are chosen due to their prevalence in that area, as they represent the natural climate and environment. For example, Virginia is covered in flowering dogwood, white pinecones are abundant in Maine, and there are fields of goldenrod as far as the eye can see in Kentucky.
Other states chose their flowers for historical and cultural significance. Yucca was a common material for weaving and textile creation in New Mexico. The people of Utah survived on the roots of sego lily after pests wiped out their crops in the early 1800s.
States like Florida, Delaware, and Michigan chose flowers that represent their main economic crops: oranges, peaches, and apples, respectively.
Does Each State Have a Unique Flower?
Most state flowers are unique, but there are a few repeats and similarities in some areas.
For example, Michigan and Arkansas both have apple blossoms as their state flowers. Apples were one of Arkansas’ main exports when they chose their state flower in 1901. Now, Arkansas is a major exporter of corn, soybeans, and similar crops.
North Carolina and Virginia both have flowering dogwood as their main bloom. Given their proximity, it’s no surprise that this tree is abundant across state borders.
New Jersey and Wisconsin share violets, and several states have rose variants as their state flowers. So, while there are many different official state blooms, there’s plenty of overlap.
Related: List of US State Nicknames
Official Flowers by State
- Alabama – Camellia
- Alaska – Forget-me-not
- Arizona – Saguaro cactus blossom
- Arkansas – Apple blossom
- California – California poppy
- Colorado – Rocky Mountain columbine
- Connecticut – Mountain laurel
- Delaware – Peach blossom
- District of Columbia – American beauty rose
- Florida – Orange blossom
- Georgia – Cherokee rose
- Hawaii – Yellow Hibiscus
- Illinois – Violet
- Indiana – Peony
- Iowa – Wild rose
- Kansas – Sunflower
- Kentucky – Giant goldenrod
- Louisiana – Magnolia
- Maine – White pine cone
- Maryland – Black-eyed Susan
- Massachusetts – Mayflower
- Michigan – Apple blossom
- Minnesota – Showy lady’s Slipper
- Mississippi – Magnolia
- Missouri – Hawthorn
- Montana – Bitterroot
- Nebraska – Solidago
- Nevada – Sagebrush
- New Hampshire – Purple lilac
- New Jersey – Purple violet
- New Mexico – Yucca
- New York – Rose
- North Carolina – Flowering dogwood
- North Dakota – Prairie rose
- Ohio – Red carnation
- Oklahoma – Oklahoma rose
- Oregon – Oregon grape
- Pennsylvania – Mountain laurel
- Rhode Island – Violet
- South Carolina – Yellow jessamine
- South Dakota – American pasque
- Tennessee – Iris
- Texas – Bluebonnet
- Utah – Sego lily
- Vermont – Red clover
- Virginia – Flowering dogwood
- Washington – Pacific rhododendron
- West Virginia – Rhododendron
- Wisconsin – Common violet
- Wyoming – Indian paintbrush
Official State Wildflowers
A few states have an official state flower and an official state wildflower. This additional bloom can be confusing as many state’s official flowers are a wildflower.
Here are the states with official wildflowers:
- Alabama – Oak-leaf hydrangea
- Florida – Tickseed
- Georgia – Azalea
- Illinois – Milkweed
- Louisiana – Louisiana iris
- Michigan – Dwarf lake iris
- Mississippi – Tickseed
- New Hampshire – Pink lady’s slipper
- North Carolina – Carolina lily
- Ohio – Large white trillium
- Oklahoma – Indian blanket
- South Carolina – Goldenrod
- Tennesse – Purple passionflower and Tennessee purple coneflower
Some states also have another unique floral representation. Mistletoe is Oklahoma’s floral emblem, which was adopted in 1893— before Oklahoma was a state.
Pennsylvania is the only state with a beautification and
conservation plant. This plant is intentionally planted by the Department of Transportation along roadways to feed wildlife, prevent soil erosion, and make the state a bit more beautiful.
Connecticut’s Michaela Petit’s Four-O’Clocks are the official children’s state flower to commemorate the victims of one of the state’s most infamous murders. Among the wreckage and tragedy, family members found these beautiful blooms growing and labeled them a symbol of enduring hope.
Are State Flowers Protected?
There’s a common misconception that it’s illegal to grow or harvest official state flowers. In truth, the rules vary from state to state.
Minnesota’s state flower, the lady’s slipper, is endangered across North America. As such, it’s illegal to pick, transplant, or uproot in any way both in the United States and Canada.
Hawaii’s Hibiscus brackenridgei is endemic to the Hawaiian islands and was chosen for its rarity. This endangered bloom may have as few as 60 plants left on Earth and is protected.
In some states, picking the state flower isn’t illegal, but it is frowned upon. It also depends on where the plants are located. If you find violets growing in a ditch on public land, picking a few is unlikely to break any laws.
Conversely, if you find blooms in a National Park or private land, it’s best to leave them untouched.
State flowers showcase an interesting side of history and insight into what makes each state unique. Consider using artful depictions of these blooms to celebrate your home state or create a meaningful gift.