Wisconsin is an American state situated in the Great Lakes and Midwest regions of the country. The state is surrounded by Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa. Wisconsin has the second longest Great Lakes coastline with Lake Michigan forming the northeast border while Lake Superior is bordering the state to the northern side. Wisconsin has seventy-two counties, and its capital city is Madison while Milwaukee is the largest city in the state. Wisconsin is known as America’s Dairyland since it is one of the highest dairy producers in the country particularly famous for cheese production. Wisconsin has numerous state symbols including the flag, seal, nickname, motto, bird, domestic animal, wild animal, fish, insect, tree, and state flower among others.
What is the Official State Flower of Wisconsin?
The state flower of Wisconsin is the wood violet, also known as the common blue violet or the Viola sororia. The Superintendent of Public Instruction in the state, C.P. Cary, decided that the school children will select the state’s flower in two phases after he realized that Wisconsin had no official flower. The first open referendum was held in 1908 on the Arbor Day, and four finalists were selected: the wild rose, white water lily, wood violet, and the arbutus. The final referendum was held in 1909, and the wood violet won with over 67,178 votes followed by the wild rose (31,024).
The wood violet remained the unofficial state flower of Wisconsin until 1948, when the Youth Committee of the state’s Centennial Commission discovered that the wood flower had not been officially adopted. Therefore a bill was drafted and presented to the Wisconsin legislature. The bill was approved and signed into law on June 4, 1949, making the wood violet the state’s official flower. Wood violet is famous in the eastern parts of the country and its blossoms from March to June. It thrives in all but four of Wisconsin’s counties. It is also the state flower of Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Illinois.
The wood violet is a perennial plant with purple flowers and many heart-shaped leaves. Most wood violets can attain a maximum height of about 5 inches. The flowers of the wood violet develop on stalks that don’t have leaves. The flowers are made up of five petals which are either blue or violet. The lower petals are separated by a broad petal where the pollinators land. The base of the lateral petals is hairy. The presence of these flowers signifies the beginning of the long-awaited spring to the locals. The violet flowers start to appear in the woodlands as soon as March. It also grows on the riverbeds, under trees, and along the roadsides.
Other than being used as the garden and lawn plant in the state, the wood violet has been historically used for its medicinal value. Its edible leaves and flowers which have been consumed for centuries are rich in vitamin A and C. Its tasty leaves can be used in jellies, candies, and salads. The Cherokee used the plant to treat headaches and colds while other native tribes used it to cure constipation, sore throats, and coughs.