Florida is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state covers an area of 65,755 square miles, has a population of 21,312,211, and is the southernmost state of the contiguous United States. Florida has a variety of official state symbols, including a state tree (Sabal palm), animal (Florida panther), fish (Atlantic sailfish), and reptile (American alligator). It also has an official state flower, the orange blossom.
What Is Florida's State Flower?
The orange blossom (Citrus sinensis) is the official state flower of Florida. The state flower should not be confused with the state wildflower, which is the tickseed. The orange blossom is the flower that sprouts from the orange tree. The orange is a fruit that is commonly associated with Florida given its abundance across the state. The orange blossom was designated by the state legislature as Florida's official flower on November 5, 1909. The flower can be seen blossoming in various places in Central and Southern Florida. Millions of orange blossoms sprout from the trees, perfuming the air with their scent. The flowers blossom in spring, resulting in fruits in the following autumn or winter. Even after the fruit begins to grow, some flowers can still be seen on the orange trees.
The orange tree, which bears the orange blossom, is an evergreen tree with a greenish-brown bark. In most cases, the twigs of the tree are thorny, while the petals of the orange blossom are usually small and white in color, and grow in clusters of between 2 and 6 flowers. Each individual flower usually has 4 or more petals and sepals. The petals are usually linear, and in some instances curved lengthwise. The petals are thick, and unlike the sepals of many other flowers, the sepals of the orange blossom merge at the base of the petals to form a small cup-like shape, with about 15-20 stamens. The stamens are arranged in a tight column around the gynoecium.
Uses of the Orange Blossom
The orange blossom is primarily used to make commercial perfumes due to the pleasant fragrances the flowers release when they begin to blossom. The flower has also been used for perfuming different substances such as soaps. Extracts from the flower, and the tree in general, have been used as a common ingredient in cleaning agents. The orange oil made from the flowers has effectively been used as a grease cleaner and is becoming a popular commercial cleaner. Extracts from the orange blossom are also used to make natural skin care products, as orange blossom oil is effective in treating acne and stretch marks. The oil is also used in aromatherapy, as the scent is considered to be relaxing, calming, and tranquilizing, which can be helpful for heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, stress, and depression.
Why Was Orange Blossom Selected as Florida's State Flower?
Citrus fruit, especially the orange, is the state's primary agricultural product, and the second biggest contributor to Florida's economy after tourism. Florida produces the highest amount of citrus fruit in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 60% of all citrus fruit produced in the US comes from Florida. The most commonly produced citrus fruit in Florida is the orange, which accounts for 70% of all oranges produced in the country. In fact, the orange is Florida's state fruit, and orange juice is the state beverage. Therefore, the orange blossom is an appropriate choice as the state flower.