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What Is the State Flower of Indiana?

The state flower of Indiana is the peony, a lush bloom known for its vibrant colors and fragrant petals. Adopted in 1957, this perennial symbolizes the Hoosier State's love for beauty and nature's resilience. Each spring, the peony graces gardens with its presence, a reminder of renewal. How does this flower reflect Indiana's cultural heritage? Join us to explore its roots.
April S. Kenyon
April S. Kenyon

The state flower of Indiana is the peony. It was adopted as the state symbol in March of 1957, replacing the zinnia. Peonies typically bloom in the late spring or early summer, and boast various shades of pink, red, yellow, and white. This large, showy flower occurs as either a single or double bloom. When the General Assembly introduced the peony as the state flower of Indiana, it did not designate any specific variety or color.

Previous to March 1957, the zinnia had served as Indiana’s state flower since 1931. When the peony was designated the state flower of Indiana, there was some speculation that a commercial peony cultivator was behind the change. It was rumored that this specific grower, who also maintained a position as a state representative, swayed the House vote that favored the peony over the dogwood blossom that had been proposed by the Senate.

Peonies are the state flower of Indiana.
Peonies are the state flower of Indiana.

Indiana’s history regarding state flowers dates back to 1913, when the carnation was adopted as the state symbol by Concurrent Resolution. Arguments arose that the carnation was not a native flower of Indiana, and the tulip tree blossom was designated as the Indiana state flower in 1923 through an act of the General Assembly. The blossom’s reign was short lived, however, as the zinnia was introduced as the state flower of Indiana only eight years later. It was rumored that a grower of zinnia seeds was behind the change. Oddly enough, the peony has fallen under the same criticisms as the carnation and the zinnia.

The peony is widely cultivated throughout the state, though it is not a native flower of Indiana. It is native to the southern portions of Europe, Asia, and the western states of North America. The state flower of Indiana has suffered some criticism as a result of its native origins. Some maintain that the flower should not serve as the state symbol because it is not a native flower of the area. Despite the opposition, the peony has managed to hold its title as the state flower of Indiana for more than half a century.

Peonies are popularly used in graveside arrangements for Memorial Day, and they are commonly cultivated as an ornamental plant. Their large, showy blooms are highly scented, and they are often prized for their beauty and fragrance. This showy bloom serves as one of the earliest flowers used in ornamental arrangements and decorations.

The state flower of Indiana also serves as a traditional floral symbol for the country of China. Riches and honor are symbolized by the peony in the Chinese culture, and the large, showy blossoms are often used in art. The Qing Dynasty designated the peony as the national flower of China in 1903.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the state flower of Indiana?

The state flower of Indiana is the Peony (Paeonia). Adopted in 1957, the peony blooms in various shades such as pink, red, and white during late spring and early summer. Indiana chose the peony to replace the original state flower, the zinnia, and it has been a symbol of the state ever since, celebrated for its lush, full blossoms and sweet fragrance.

When was the Peony designated as Indiana's state flower?

The Peony was designated as Indiana's state flower on March 15, 1957. This decision was made by the Indiana General Assembly after the zinnia, which had been the state flower since 1931, was replaced. The peony was chosen for its widespread popularity and availability throughout the state.

Why was the Peony chosen as the state flower over other flowers?

The Peony was chosen as Indiana's state flower due to its popularity and the fact that it was commonly grown in Indiana. Unlike the zinnia, which was not native to the state, peonies were widely cultivated and admired for their beauty and ease of growing. Their ability to thrive in Indiana's climate made them a fitting symbol for the state.

Are there any specific varieties of Peony that are more common in Indiana?

While there are numerous varieties of peonies, Indiana does not specify a particular variety as its state flower. However, herbaceous peonies, known for their large, showy flowers and ability to return each spring without fail, are among the most common and beloved in Indiana gardens and landscapes.

Can visitors see the state flower in public gardens or parks in Indiana?

Yes, visitors can see Indiana's state flower, the peony, in bloom at several public gardens and parks throughout the state during the late spring and early summer months. Notable places include the White River Gardens at the Indianapolis Zoo and the Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Elkhart, where the peonies' vibrant colors and fragrant blossoms are showcased.

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    • Peonies are the state flower of Indiana.
      By: Grebenshchikov
      Peonies are the state flower of Indiana.