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What Is the State Flower of North Dakota? History, Uses, & FAQ

pink prairie rose

North Dakota is an amazing state that is rich in Native American history. It also has the tallest structure in the western hemisphere, the KVLY-TV antenna, and many mineral resources, including oil, which is a big part of its economy. There are many other fascinating things about North Dakota, including its state flower, the Wild Prairie Rose. Keep reading as we look into this attractive flower to learn more about it, including when and why it became the state flower.

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The Wild Prairie Rose Description

close up prairie roses
Image Credit: mmcclain90, Pixabay

The Wild Prairie Rose is a wild-growing flower that you can find decorating prairies, roadsides, and ditches across much of the eastern United States. It’s a shrub that grows to about 1.5 feet tall and has many spiny branches. The flowers are about 2 inches in diameter and have five pink petals, with tightly clustered yellow stamens in the center. They bloom from May to August. The plant spreads quickly, causing many to label it an invasive species.

When Did the Prairie Rose Become the State Flower of North Dakota?

The 10th session of the Legislative Assembly of North Dakota approved the Prairie Rose as the state flower on March 7, 1907.

Why Did North Dakota Choose the Prairie Rose as Its State Flower?

Some people believe that the Legislative Assembly of North Dakota chose the Prairie Rose as the state flower because the State University of North Dakota had previously chosen its school colors of red and green from the Prairie Rose flowers growing on campus.

Uses for the Prairie Rose

blooming prairie rose
Image Credit: Demiahl, Pixabay

The Native Americans that live in North Dakota have several uses for the Wild Prairie Rose. For example, it makes a great ornamental plant that can improve the appearance of any garden or landscape, and the flowers attract bees and butterflies. Some people steep the plant to create a tea that can help treat eye inflammation, while others crush it for relief from burns. The Wild Prairie Rose is also a food source because you can eat the fruit that it produces. The fruit attracts deer and other animals too. You can also dry out the plant and burn it as fuel.

Cultivating the Prairie Rose

The Wild Prairie Rose is easy to grow in most areas and only requires sunlight and water in well-draining soil. It grows quickly and can overtake other plants, so it’s important to give it plenty of space. Most gardeners recommend allotting 24–36 inches in all directions of a Wild Prairie Rose for best results. It’s easier to start with saplings from a nursery because the seeds have a low germination rate, but once they get started, they are quite hardy and resistant to drought. They will die off in the winter but return each year in early spring.

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The state flower of North Dakota is the Wild Prairie Rose, and it was likely chosen because the University of North Dakota chose its school colors based on the flowers that it found growing on campus. It’s an attractive plant that is easy to grow but can take over other plants if you don’t give it enough space. Once started, you can enjoy the plant’s beautiful flowers yearly with little maintenance, as it’s highly tolerant of drought conditions and doesn’t require much fertilizer or care.

Featured Image Credit: Michael Gaida, Pixabay


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