Alabama State Wildflower
Adoption of the Alabama State Wildflower
In 1959, the Alabama Legislature voted to replace the goldenrod, the official flower of the state, with the camellia. There were some objections. Camellias are beautiful flowers that come in a wide variety of colors and types. But camellias, native to China, do not represent anything particular to Alabama.
In 1998, Representative Gerald Willis introduced House Bill No. 21 proposing a specific species of camellia be referenced as the state flower and that Alabama adopt a state wildflower, something native to the state, the oak-leaf hydrangea.
Representative Willis' proposal didn't get very far in 1998. His bill was assigned to the Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Committee and never emerged.
Willis was back in 1999. This time his bill, House Bill No. 57, was approved by the Alabama House of Representatives on March 23, 1999. It was approved by the Alabama Senate in May and signed by the Governor on May 25, 1999.
With the passage of this bill, Alabama now had an official state flower and an official wildflower. House Bill No. 57 also specified that specimens of the flowers should be maintained at Auburn University. The text of House Bill No. 57 follows:
The Code of Alabama
The following information is excerpted from The Code of Alabama, Title 1, Chapter 2, Section 1-2-11.
(a) The camellia, Camellia japonica L., is hereby designated and named as the official state flower of Alabama.
(b) The oak-leaf hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia Bartr., is hereby designated and named as the official state wildflower of Alabama.
(c) Specimens of the state flower and the state wildflower shall be deposited in the Auburn University Herbarium.
(Acts 1927, No. 541, p. 627; Code 1940, T. 55, §8; Acts 1959, No. 124, p. 646; Act 99–313, §1.)
Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea): University of Connecticut Plant Database.
State Flower Images: Alabama State flowers at the Auburn University Herbarium.
Hydrangea: Kerry Smith, Horticulture Associate - Auburn University.
Plant Identification Resource: Auburn University Horticultural Department.
Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea): Description of the oak-leaf hydrangea from FloriData.com.
Hydrangeas : A Gardener's Guide: by Toni Lawson-Hall and Brian Rothera - Outlines the history and natural distribution of hydrangeas and the 13 species most commonly grown in cultivation. Discusses all aspects of cultivation and care, and examines color changes related to soil type. Describes over 60 cultivars in detail, each with at least one color photograph, photocopies of leaves and sepals, a list of salient characteristics, and a general description.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Web site for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.
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 Alabama Legislature, (http://www.legislature.state.al.us/), May 24, 2005
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