What Is The State Flower Of Oregon?

The Oregon grape blossom.
The Oregon grape blossom.

Oregon is an American state situated in the Pacific Northwest along the west coast. The state became the 33rd State of America in 1859 and is the 9th largest state by land area. Oregon has a population of over 4 million people. The state has a number of designated national symbols, including a state flower, the Oregon Grape. The Oregon grape was recognized and legislated as the official flower of the Oregon State in 1899. The flower was adopted by the Senate in Concurrent Resolution number 4 of the Legislative Assembly in a session held on January 30-31st 1899.

Adoption Process

The process of nominating the state flower commenced in 1890 when the Oregon Horticultural Society tasked a special committee to identify a state flower. The committee came up with a list of various flowers but did not reach a consensus. The following year the society again failed to agree on the state flower. The main flowers suggested were the Washington lily, Madrone, wake robin, bearded gaillardia and the Oregon grape. In 1892, at an annual general meeting held in Hood River, Mr. George Henry Himes proposed the adoption of the Oregon grape as the state flower. A vote was carried on out on July 18, 1892, by the Oregon Historical Society where it was agreed on a majority vote that the suggested flower be adopted. Subsequently, the legislature was petitioned to officially adopt the flower with the women’s federation rallying their support in favor of the proposed flower. The proposed flower was eventually legislated as the national flower in January 1899.

Description Of The Flower

The state flower is dainty yellow in color and grows from the evergreen low growing shrub known as Oregon Grape which is seldom 3 feet tall. The lovely flower is scented with an aroma that attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The plant is found in plenty along the Pacific coast and in sparse quantities in the Cascades. The flowers bloom to form clusters in early summer before forming dark blue edible berries. The berries are used in some regions to make jelly or incorporated into the diet by the Pacific Northwest aboriginal inhabitants. Also known as the Mahonia aquifolium, the leaves of the plant have a dark green hue with waxy cuticles and spined edges along the margins. The leaves are 10 to 18 inches long and a breath of 2 to 3 inches. The flowers are numerous small bright-yellow borne in upright racemes. The berries that form is dark blue, sour but edible. The twigs are unbranched while the bark is rough, scaly and reddish brown in color. The plant grows in rich soils of north Californian and Oregon. Oregon grape is scientifically classified in the Berberidaceae family, Genus Mahonia Nutt barberry in the aquifolium species. The Oregon grape is known by common names as tall Oregon grape, holly-leaved barberry, California barberry or the trailing mahonia.

The Significance Of A State Flower

A state flower is an emblem or a symbol with a deeper meaning in a State. The main significance is to showcase the feelings, abundance, beauty, economic prowess or historical significance. Public participation may be invoked when selecting the national flower with some states tasking school children to select the state flower. The Oregon grape which produces numerous yellow flowers was chosen to represent the beauty and abundance found throughout Oregon State.


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