New Hampshire boasts two state flowers. The official cultivated state flower of New Hampshire is the purple lilac blossom. While this flower is not native to North America, it was imported from England as early as the middle of the 18th century, and it has served as the state flower of New Hampshire since 1919. The official wildflower of New Hampshire is the pink lady’s slipper, which was voted in as the symbolic wildflower of the state in 1991. It is a native flower of the state and can be found growing in the wooded areas of New Hampshire.
In 1919, the purple lilac beat out a large variety of other candidates for the title of the state flower of New Hampshire. A number of bills promoted other flowers for consideration of state flower status that year, including the apple blossom, the wood lily, and the aster. Other candidates included the mayflower, the buttercup, goldenrod, evening primrose, and the wild pasture rose. The purple lilac was chosen ultimately as the state flower of New Hampshire because it best represented the hardy character of the people in New Hampshire.
Lilac bushes have been known to survive for hundreds of years, and more than 1,000 varieties of lilacs exist around the world. The bush is native to Asia and England, and it was transported to the United States in the 1750s. Colors include various shades of white, purple, and pink, and the blossom is sweetly fragrant. The state of New York also claims the lilac as its state bush, though the purple lilac blossom is exclusive to the state of New Hampshire as the state flower.
In contrast to the hardiness of the cultivated state flower of New Hampshire, the symbolic wildflower of the state is rather fragile and delicate. The pink lady’s slipper, also called the moccasin flower or lady’s slipper, was adopted as the state’s official wildflower in 1991. It is a rare orchid found growing wild in the wooded areas of New Hampshire. In many areas, this beautiful orchid is protected as an endangered plant species because its natural environment is slowly giving way to agriculture and the advancement of society. Numerous individuals also attempt, unsuccessfully, to transplant the pink lady’s slipper, resulting in a depletion of the species.