What Is the State Flower of Delaware? History, Benefits, & FAQ
If you are a flower lover, it might please you to know that flowers are highly regarded in the United States. Each of the 50 states of the US has an official flower designated to represent the state by the state’s local government. Some flowers are chosen due to their dominance in the state, while others are chosen due to certain historical backgrounds connecting the flower to the state.
The official state flower of Delaware is the peach blossom, and it was chosen in 1895, a time when peaches were abundant in the state of Delaware.
About the Peach blossom
The peach blossom flower is a proud bloom of the peach tree. It is mainly peach in color, although the colors can differ, ranging from light (almost white) shades of peach to a darker shade that is lavender and deep red, depending on the factors surrounding its cultivation.
Each blossom is about an inch in diameter, and it has about five petals surrounding the center. The petals appear differently, with some looking small and curving inwards and others opening wide and proudly exposing their beauty.
The buds of the peach blossom begin to appear sometime between mid march and early April, and the flower fully blooms in the early spring. The peach tree is blessed with a widely attractive flower bunch and extremely tasty fruits, making it a favorite plant in the garden of a lot of homeowners. The peach fruit is round and succulent with attractive skin colored yellow or red. It can be small (3 inches) or large (6 inches).
How Did the Peach Blossom Become the State Flower of Delaware?
Delaware was filled with orchards containing peach blossoms in the year 1895. It was so widely spread that you could find orchards with over 800,000 peach blossoms. When there was a nomination for state flower on March 9th, 1895, the peach blossom unsurprisingly led the nomination. However, it was only 58 years later, in the year 1953, that the peach blossom was officially adopted as the flower of the state of Delaware.
What Happened to the Peaches in Delaware?
How is it that a state that could boast of orchards holding hundreds of thousands of a particular flower suddenly lost all of that peach beauty? Towards the start of the 20th century, there was a viral disease known as the “Peach Yellows.” This disease was spread by Phytoplasma. The natural host of this disease is the wild plum, and it is asymptomatic.
At the time, there was no known method to prevent the spread of the disease, so it ravaged the orchards in a short time. The disease first attacked the Northern Delaware orchards, and in a short while, it spread to all three counties. By the time a cure was found, almost all the orchards had been destroyed, leaving just three major orchards.
Delaware as the Peach State in 2023
Although Delaware never quite recovered from the disaster, it still retained its proud name as the “peach state.” Wyoming and Middletown, two towns that were the main hub of production of peaches in the earlier years, have continued to honor the history of the peach in Delaware. Each year, these towns host festivals to celebrate the amazing peach blossom.
Significance of the Peach Blossom Flower to Delaware
Generally, the peach blossom flower has a long list of meanings, representing different values to different people. To some, it represents femininity, womanhood, and purity. There was a time when women would place this flower in their homes as a sign of good luck when they were engaged.
Others see the peach blossom as a sign of longevity, vitality, and happiness. To the people of Delaware, the peach blossom has an even deeper representation. Being a fruit that constituted the primary money-making crop in Delaware in the 19th century, the natives of Delaware do not take peaches for granted. Peaches were a major cash crop and soon made the state the top peach-growing state at the time, bringing them a lot of recognition across the country and beyond. Therefore to the people of Delaware, peaches are also a representation of wealth, fame, and recognition.
Fun Facts About the Peach Blossom Flower
- Koreans consume peach blossom flower tea.
- Peach blossom flowers can be used to garnish meals due to the mildly sweet flavor it introduces to a dish.
- Ongoing research has shown that peach blossom can be used as a potential source of natural antioxidants in the food and cosmetics industry.
- The peach tree can grow up to a height of about 15 feet at its peak.
- The peach tree is drought-tolerant to an extent.
- Peach trees tend to thrive better in hot climates and winter temperatures above 45 degrees F.
- The average lifespan of a peach tree is about 8 to 15 years.
Benefits of the Peachtree
The peach tree has many benefits. All the parts of this tree have their beneficial uses. The peach fruit is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Its sweet aroma and fresh taste will remind you of honey and almond.
The leaves of the peach tree are also edible. They can be added as a garnish to a dish, used in a salad, or brewed as a tea.
Also, there are reports of the medicinal uses of peach leaves in treating allergies and improving the flow of blood.
The peach blossom flower, in all its glory and beauty, is an excellent pollinator, drawing insects effortlessly to itself.
Undoubtedly, the peach blossom flower is held dear to the hearts of the natives of Delaware. To this day, it remains the state flower, and that does not seem likely to change anytime soon.
Featured Image Credit: anadfontana, Pixabay