New Mexico State Flower
Adoption of the New Mexico State Flower
The yucca flower, selected by New Mexico schoolchildren and supported by the New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs, was approved by the eighth regular session of the legislature of New Mexico. House Bill No. 371, naming the "Yucca flower" the "official Flower of the State of New Mexico" was adopted on March 14, 1927.
The legislation does not specify a particular species of yucca flower or even indicate that "all" species are intended to represent New Mexico.
We highlight Yucca glauca and Yucca elata on this page but either might be thought of as the official state flower. The 2000-2001 New Mexico Blue Book and the New Mexico Legislature Handbook state that
"The yucca (pronounced “yuh-ka”) was called “our Lord’s candles” by early settlers who saw its beautiful flowers gracing the plains and deserts of New Mexico. It is found in abundant quantities throughout the state. The yucca elate [sic] is considered the most elegant of the species."
It goes on to say
"Early inhabitants found that ground yucca roots were an excellent substitute for soap. Yucca has always been popular among New Mexicans for shampoo, and it is rapidly gaining commercial favor throughout the country."
Some have argued that, because a common name for Yucca elata is the soaptree yucca, this species was intended to be the official state flower. But, because Yucca glauca is sometimes referred to as the soapweed yucca or the small soapweed, this argument doesn't work very well. We do appreciate that Yucca elata is one of the more impressive Yucca species.
We have not been able to locate any credible evidence that a particular species of yucca was intended as the state flower and until we do, we have to assume that any species may be considered to be the "official Flower of the State of New Mexico."
The New Mexico Statutes
The following information is excerpted from the New Mexico Statutes, Article 3, Section 12-4-4 A.
ARTICLE 3. STATE SEAL, SONG AND SYMBOLS.
A. The yucca flower is adopted as the official flower of New Mexico.
Yucca glauca (Soapweed yucca): Plant Encyclopedia from MyGardenGuide.
Plant Profile for Yucca glauca (Soapweed yucca): USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
Plant Profile for Yucca elata (Soaptree yucca): 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: New Mexico Statutes, (http://www.conwaygreene.com/NewMexico.htm), August 20, 2005
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