What Is the State Flower of Florida? History, Uses, & Benefits
Citrus fruit is a huge part of Florida’s economy. In fact, Florida produces the majority of citrus fruits that grow within the United States, including oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit. Given Florida’s subtropical climate, it’s easy to think of refreshing fruits while in the Sunshine State, especially oranges. With that said, the state flower of Florida is the orange blossom.
In this article, we’ll explore the characteristics of the orange blossom and explain how and why this flower became the state flower of Florida. Read on to learn more!
What Is the Orange Blossom Flower?
The orange blossom (Citrus sinensis) is a white, star-shaped flower of the orange tree belonging to the Rutaceae family. This white flower has five soft petals and gives off a pleasant fragrance that wafts through the air each spring, primarily in central and south Florida. Honeybees love these flowers, as the petals attract them with each blooming season, which usually runs from February to March.
Orange trees love sandy soils and humidity, which are two things Florida is known for, making the orange blossom in abundance throughout the state during the blooming season. The orange tree bears its fruit roughly 6 months or so after the orange blossoms arrive. As each petal falls after pollination or aging, it leaves behind a tiny green fruit that will evolve into an edible orange. This evergreen grows 20–30 feet and has deep-green-colored leaves.
Why Was the Orange Blossom Selected as Florida’s State Flower?
On November 15, 1909, the Florida legislature selected the orange blossom for the state flower because of the significant number of orange trees in the state. In the 1500s, Spanish explorers first introduced the orange tree, which was native to Southeast Asia. By the time the Florida legislature declared the orange blossom as the state flower, Florida had already surpassed the entire globe with the most orange trees in the world.
Orange Blossom Meaning
These fragrant flowers symbolize good luck, prosperity, fertility, and innocence. Traditionally, brides in Southeast Asia have used orange blossoms in wedding ceremonies, and the white color of the flowers symbolizes purity. Consequently, Queen Victoria wore a crown of orange blossoms on her wedding day to Prince Albert in 1840, with a fad with brides soon following throughout Great Britain.
What Are the Uses of the Orange Blossom?
Orange blossoms are known for their soft petals and sweet aroma in the spring, but that’s not all it’s known for. The petals serve medicinal purposes, too. Orange blossom water helps soothe the skin, and you can make it at home. You can also use the water in cooking to add to drinks, baked goods, and salads. Just don’t overdo it, as the scent is strong, and less is more. You can also make orange blossom oil that works great for softening rough skin.
Health Benefits of the Orange Blossom
Orange Blossom water has been known to aid in a multitude of health issues, such as indigestion, calming premenstrual syndrome, improving heart function, boosting immunity, improving sleep, helping with losing weight, and reducing anxiety and depression. If you don’t want to make it yourself, you can buy it.
The fragrance of the orange blossom is unique, and the blooms fill the air in the springtime with a fresh scent. Orange blossoms have many benefits and rich history, so it’s no wonder it was declared the state flower of Florida. The smell is described as a floral and fresh scent, and if you’re ever in Florida during the springtime, especially in central and south Florida, you will smell this flower firsthand.
Featured Image Credit: Ryan Baker, Pexels