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Tennessee State Flowers

Adoption of two official state flowers

The State of Tennessee is different from many of the other states in that it currently has no one flower generically named as an official flower or floral emblem. Instead, it has an two official wild flowers and an official cultivated flower, two designated most recently in 1973 and the third in 2012. There is a story behind this.

Tennessee state flower

Passionflower, Tennessee's first official flower (1919) and first official wild flower (1973)

Senate Joint Resolution No.13, approved in 1919, defined a mechanism whereby the state could select an official state flower.

The story of what was to become Tennessee's state wild flower, the passionflower, began when state school children named it as their favorite. Yes, the passionflower was Tennessee's one and only state flower..or so almost everyone thought before 1933. [ Find out more... ]

Tennessee state flower

Iris, Tennessee's second official flower (1933) and official cultivated flower (1973)

In 1933, claiming the passionflower was never officially sanctioned by the legislature, the Tennessee General Assembly designated the iris as the Tennessee state flower with the approval of Senate Joint Resolution No. 53. The selection of the 1919 school children was out!

If the iris supporters thought that the passionflower had been forgotten, they were very wrong. Protests arose from passionflower supporters. Counter-arguments were launched by iris proponents. Criticisms flew and the arguments between the two groups were passionate and often heated.

It took 40 years, but the issue was finally resolved when the passionflower was renamed the state's official wild flower and the iris was renamed as the state's official cultivated flower. [ Find out more... ]

Tennessee state flower

Tennessee echinacea, Tennessee's second official wild flower

After leaving the subject of official state flowers alone for over 35 years, the Tennessee Legislature passed a bill naming Tennessee echinacea, or Tennessee purple coneflower, the state's second official state wild flower. [ Find out more... ]


Sources...

State of Tennessee. Tennessee General Assembly. Senate Bill No. 2976. Nashville: State of Tennessee, 2012. Web.
State of Tennessee. Tennessee Code Annotated. Nashville: State of Tennessee, 2011. Web. 27 Jul 2011. <http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/>.
Simbeck, Rob. Tennessee State Symbols. Knoxville, Tenn.: The University of Tennessee Press, Second Edition, 2002.
Shankle, George Earlie. State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols. Irvine, Calif.: Reprint Services Corp, Revised edition, 1971.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.


Additional Information

State flowers: Complete list of official state flowers from NETSTATE.COM.

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Tennessee state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.