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Massachusetts State Flower of Floral Emblem

Mayflower Epigaea repens Adopted:1918
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Massachusetts Flower or Floral Emblem: Mayflower
Photograph © Mike Baker - Used with permission.

Adoption of the Massachusetts State Flower or Floral Emblem

Perhaps named by the Pilgrims, the mayflower was suggested as the Massachusetts floral emblem as early as 1893 when the Women's Congress at the Chicago World's Fair (The World's Columbian Exposition) began promoting the idea of a "National Garland of Flowers."

Two bills proposing the mayflower as the Massachusetts' floral emblem were introduced, one in 1900 and a second in 1901. Both failed to gain legislative approval. A bill to name mountain laurel the state's floral emblem was introduced in 1905. It too was defeated.

A third bill in support of the mayflower, introduced by Representative Miles A. O'Brien, Jr. was the charm. Unfortunately a competing bill, proposing the water lily as the floral emblem, was also introduced. The General Court decided to pass the issue on to the Department of Agriculture who, in turn, passed the issue on to the State Board of Education. It was determined that a statewide vote of school children would determine the state's floral emblem.

Put to the children of Massachusetts, the mayflower received more than twice as many votes as the water lily.

  • Mayflower - 107,617 votes
  • Water lily - 49, 499 votes

The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on May 1, 1918, adopted the mayflower (Epigaea repens) also commonly known as trailing arbutus or ground laurel, as the flower or floral emblem of the Commonwealth.

On May 17, 1925, Section 7 was amended to protect the endangered mayflower.

The General Laws of Massachusetts

The following information is excerpted from the General Laws of Massachusetts, Part 1, Title 1, Chapter 2, Section 7.

Additional Information

Epigaea repens (Trailing Arbutus): Plant Encyclopedia from MyGardenGuide.

Epigaea repens: University of Connecticut Plant Database of Trees, Shrubs and Vines.

Plant Profile for Epigaea repens (Trailing Arbutus): USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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: The General Laws of Massachusetts, (http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/index.htm), July 25, 2005
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: Revised Edition (Reprint)- George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938

 
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