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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 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.

Official Tennessee flowers and their titles 1919-
Flower 1919 1933 1973 2012
Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) State flower State flower State wild flower State wild flower State wild flower
Iris (Iridaceae)   State flower State cultivated flower State cultivated flower State cultivated flower
Tennessee echinacea (Echinacea tennesseensis)       State wild flower State wild flower

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

Tennessee state flower

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 passion flower, began when state school children named it as their favorite.

Yes, the passion flower was Tennessee's one and only state flower..or so almost everyone thought before 1933. [ Find out more... ]

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

Tennessee state flower

In 1933, claiming the passion flower 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 passion flower had been forgotten, they were very wrong. Protests arose from passion flower 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 passion flower was renamed the state's official wild flower and the iris was renamed as the state's official cultivated flower. [ Find out more... ]

Tennessee echinacea, Tennessee's second official wild flower (2012)

Tennessee state 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... ]


"Senate Bill No. 2976". Tennessee General Assembly. Nashville: State of Tennessee, 2012. Web.

State of Tennessee. Tennessee Code Annotated. Nashville: State of Tennessee, 2011. Web. 27 Jul 2011. .

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.

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.