The state of Arkansas was once a large apple producer that it was nicknamed “The Land of the Big Apple.” However, apples are not native to the state as it was introduced to North America by the 16th-century explorers and later by colonialists. Settlers who arrived in Arkansas from other states such as Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia also carried with them apple seeds. A few years later, the apple became a dominant agricultural crop and one of the main economic drivers of Arkansas. In the early 1990s, the state boasted of over 3 million bushels of the crop. Apple was so popular in Arkansas that apple blossom was chosen as the floral emblem for the state. And for more than two decades after the designation as the state flower, apple blossom dominated Arkansas’ agriculture and landscape.
Designating the Apple Blossom as the State Flower
Apple blossom was designated the official flower of the state of Arkansas in 1901 when apple farming was at its peak in the state. Although Arkansas still produce apples, the production level has greatly decreased. However, the Arkansas apple festival is still a major activity held in the town of Lincoln every year. The events during this festival include the coronation of Apple Queen and colorful floats. Before the start of the 20th century, there was a growing need for a state flower. Arkansas was not the only state championing for a state flower during this period but was one of the several states. When the matter was raised in the General Assembly, the legislators unanimously agreed to make the apple blossom the state floral emblem. A bill was passed into law, declaring it the state flower in 1901. By designating the apple bloom the official state flower, the Arkansas authority hoped that the move would motivate the apple farmers into producing more apples. However, the state crop was severely damaged by frost and diseases, leading to a significant decline in production.
Brief Description of the Apple Tree
Although apples are no longer the main crop produced in Arkansas, apple bloom still remains a popular flower. An apple tree is a well-known tree that grows for about 20 feet high and has rigid, croaked, and spreading branches. The bark is rough and blackish. They require well-drained, moist soil and mainly does well in areas bordering the forests. An apple tree is native to some European countries. Over 1000 varieties of apple trees are planted in the US, all of which have been derived from the wild crab. The leaves are approximately 2 inches long and one inch wide. The flowers, known as the apple bloom, are clusters of pink or white and are very fragrant. The flowers have white petals. The sweet scent attracts bees to the trees where they help in pollination. The flowers bloom between April and May. Once the apple blossom has bloomed and pollination process has taken place, they turn into fruits. The fruits are greenish small and mature mainly in the summer. While these fruits can be eaten, they are largely ornamental and are sometimes used to make jellies and jams