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What Is the State Flower of Michigan? How Was It Decided?

apple tree blossoming

If you’ve ever been in Michigan during the spring, you’ve likely driven past one of the 775 apple orchards. The sweet scent of fruit fills the air, and your taste buds start to water at the thought of biting into the crisp, juicy flesh. But what do apples have to do with Michigan’s state flower?

Michigan’s state flower is the apple blossom (Pyrus coronaria). Once you start to learn more about Michigan’s history, it makes sense why this delicate flower was chosen. Keep reading to learn more about this decision.

garden flower dividerWhen Was Michigan’s State Flower Decided?

The apple blossom became Michigan’s state flower in 1897. According to the Michigan state legislature, “Our blossoming apple trees add much to the beauty of our landscape, and Michigan apples have gained a worldwide reputation.” They also state, “At least one of the most fragrant and beautiful species of apple, the Pyrus coronaria, is native to our state. Michigan has been one of the leading producers of apples and apple products since those early days.”

Another common name for the apple blossom is the sweet crabapple. It is known for its pink and white petals that have a honeyed fragrance. Arkansas adopted the apple blossom as its state flower only 4 years after Michigan. However, the state of Michigan is ranked second behind Arkansas in apple production in the US.

apple tree plantation
Image By: Tama66, Pixabay

Michigan’s Other State Flower

The Wolverine State also recognizes a state wildflower—the dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris). This was made the official wildflower in 1998, 101 years after the apple blossom was adopted. The dwarf lake iris is only found on the coastlines of northern Lake Michigan, eastern and northern Lake Huron, a few isolated islands in the Great Lakes, and at one small site on the southern shores of Lake Superior.

About the Apple Blossom

The apple blossom tree is a shorter species, standing only 6–14 feet tall. The fragrant, honeysuckle-scented flowers only bloom for about a week in mid-May, but sometimes they bloom earlier in April. The blossoms have small, rounded leaves with pink and white coloring. These trees prefer well-draining soil and partial sun. They tend to thrive in USDA growing zones 3–8.

The clusters of flowers help bring color against the mostly green orchards, and they attract many essential pollinators, giving many Americans some of their favorite apple flavors.

While the apple blossom may be the state flower, there are many types of apples found here. Michigan has roughly 8–9 million apple trees. You can find an assortment of red, golden delicious, and granny smiths. One fun fact is that the largest apple ever recorded came from Caro, Michigan. The apple weighed a whopping 3 pounds, 2 ounces.

garden flower dividerConclusion

If you ever get a chance to visit Michigan from April to May, be sure to stop by one of the many orchards and see these stunning blossoms. However, if you’re visiting from mid-September through October, you’ll be lucky enough to be able to pick the apples that these stunning flowers produce and taste the sweet flesh that so many Michiganders love.


Featured Image Credit: blickpixel, Pixabay

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