Louisiana State Flower
Adoption of the Louisiana State Flower
In 1900, House Bill No. 280 was introduced to the Louisiana General Assembly proposing that the blossom of the magnolia be adopted as the state's official state flower.
From George Earlie Shankle, we have the following
The flower of the magnolia tree was approved by the Louisiana General Assembly as the state flower of Louisiana on July 12, 1900. Though Act No. 156 of the Louisiana Legislature did not specify a variety of magnolia, Shankle identifies the intended species.
In 1941, the Mary Swords DeBaillon Louisiana Native Iris Society was formed by a group of Louisiana iris enthusiasts. In 1948, the group changed its name to the Society for Louisiana Irises. The Society, its membership having grown to about 185 members, proposed legislation in 1950 to replace the magnolia blossom with the Louisiana iris. In an effort to appease the magnolia supporters, legislation was also proposed to make the magnolia the official state tree.
The debate between the iris lovers and the magnolia supporters sometimes grew heated. The iris was referred to as a plant that grows in swamps and one magnolia supporter offered, "Lots of people already think that everyone in Louisiana lives in houses on stilts in swamplands and keeps an alligator as a watchdog." Iris supporters contended that the Louisiana iris can be grown everywhere and that the magnolia, grown throughout the south, is not unique to Louisiana. (Mississippi hadn't yet adopted the magnolia blossom as their official flower. This was to come two years later in 1952.)
The iris lovers were not to prevail however and the beautiful magnolia blossom remains Louisiana's state flower to this day. So it's been for over 100 years.
It should be noted that the Louisiana iris was adopted as the state's wildflower in 1990.
The Louisiana Revised Statutes
The following information is excerpted from the Louisiana Revised Statutes, Title 49, Part 8, Section RS 49:154.
Title 49 - State administration.
The magnolia shall be the state flower of the State of Louisiana.
Acts 1990, No. 511, §1.
The Evolution of Magnolias: Personal site of Linda Saxon Nix. Great photo essay detailing the birth of the magnolia blossom and formation of seeds.
Magnolia (Magnolia Tree): Plant Encyclopedia from MyGardenGuide.
Magnolia grandiflora: University of Connecticut Plant Database of Trees, Shrubs and Vines.
Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora): Tree Identification Fact Sheet from the Virginia Tech.
Plant Profile for Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia): USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
Southern Magnolia: About the southern magnolia from TreeHelp.com.
State Flower List: List of all of the state flowers.
State Birds & Flowers 1000-pc Puzzle: Created at the request of The National Wildlife Federation this design is a beautiful and informative puzzle featuring every state bird perched on the appropriate state flower.
State Birds and Flowers Coloring Book by Annika Bernhard - 51 accurately detailed, copyright-free renderings include national bird (eagle) and flower (rose) plus 50 state birds and flowers.
U. S. State Flowers in Cross Stitch by Gerda Bengtsson - Botanically correct cross stitch designs of state flowers of the 50 States.
Quilting Flowers of the States by Sue Harvey - A lovely 12-inch flower block for each of the 50 states. Techniques used are piecing, appliqué, paper-piecing and three-dimensional techniques.
Plants, Seeds & Flowers: Bulbs, seeds, plants, fertilizer, plant containers and more.
Gardening Tools: Pruners, rakes, shovels, hoes, trowels, cultivators and tillers, greenhouses, yard carts and more.
State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002
State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals, flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and on some of the leading state histories, Revised Edition - George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938 (Reprint Services Corp. 1971)
Source: Louisiana Revised Statutes, (http://www.legis.state.la.us/), July 22, 2005
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