Missouri is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. This state covers an area of 69,715 square miles and had a population of 6,113,532 in 2017, making it the eighteenth most populated state in the country. Missouri has numerous official state symbols, including a state amphibian (American bullfrog), state animal (Missouri mule), and state bird (Bluebird). Additionally, the official state flower is the white hawthorn blossom.
Missouri State Flower
The white hawthorn blossom was selected as the official state flower of Missouri in 1923 through legislation signed by Governor Arthur M. Hyde. More than 75 species of the flower grow in Missouri, but the state legislation did not specify a particular type of the white hawthorn. However, Missouri's Department of Conservation claims that the downy hawthorn (Crataegus mollis) should be crowned as the official state flower of Missouri.
The hawthorn is a type of shrub or small tree that belongs to the rose (Rosaceae) family, is thorny, and grows a fruit. Like other species of hawthorn, the downy is thorny and characterized by white flowers and red fruit. The downy is a relatively small relative to other species of hawthorn, growing to a height of about 20 feet, often in a rounded shape. Its thorns are generally long and slender, while its leaves can be described as medium green in color. However, during fall the leaves change color to yellow or burgundy.
The white hawthorn's blossoms typically bloom between late April and early May, while its fruit grows from late August to September. The plant thrives in savanna and woodland areas with dry or moderate soil moisture. The plant has numerous benefits, such as providing shelter for wildlife in Missouri and serving as a source of food for birds and other small animals. It also provides a nesting environment for birds. The bark is usually rough and becomes shaggy as the plant ages shaggy. Unlike many plants in the rose family, the flowers of the hawthorn have an unpleasant scent.
The hawthorn plant has various uses. These include use in traditional medicine as a digestive aid and to improve cardiovascular function. More recently, the hawthorn extract has been researched in modern medicine as a means of helping treat chronic heart failure and cardiovascular disease. The hawthorn is also used as a popular shrub for landscaping, in plant grafting, and as a bonsai tree.