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What Is the State Flower of North Dakota?

The state flower of North Dakota is the elegant and resilient Wild Prairie Rose. Adorning the prairies with its delicate pink petals, this bloom symbolizes the state's natural beauty and hardy spirit. Its presence is a reminder of North Dakota's rich flora. Wondering how this flower became a state symbol? Join us as we explore its captivating history.
April S. Kenyon
April S. Kenyon

The state flower of North Dakota is the wild prairie rose. Designated as the official state symbol in 1907, the wild prairie rose grows throughout North America. According to fossil evidence, it is estimated to be more than 35 million years old. North Dakota shares its state flower with Iowa, though each state differs in its specification of the species.

In 1889, the University of North Dakota’s graduating class chose the colors pink and green as the official colors of the school. They felt that the colors of the wild prairie rose were symbolic of North Dakota’s green prairies and representative of the school’s rosy prospects. The flower gained support from the North Dakota Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1898, and it was voted a favorite for the state flower of North Dakota by school children in the state. As a result of this support, the wild prairie rose was adopted as the official state flower of North Dakota on 7 March 1907 by way of a senate sponsored bill that was approved by the Legislative Assembly of North Dakota.

Rose hips -- such as those from the prairie rose -- provide a concentrated form of vitamin C and are sometimes added to vitamin supplements.
Rose hips -- such as those from the prairie rose -- provide a concentrated form of vitamin C and are sometimes added to vitamin supplements.

Native to a large portion of central North America, the wild prairie rose can be found growing along roadsides, in meadows, and in pastures throughout the countryside. It is abundant in the area between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains, as far north as the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and as far south as Mexico. The state flower of North Dakota typically blooms from late spring and early summer to late August. Wild prairie roses feature five petals in various shades of pink with a yellow stamen at the center.

The rose hips and petals of the wild prairie rose are edible and are used widely in teas, herbal supplements, and medications. The fruit of the wild prairie rose, referred to as rose hips, form at the base of the flower. Rose hips are extremely rich in vitamins C, E, and K. They also contain high amounts of beta-carotine, bio-flavonoids, and pectin. The antioxidant effect of these elements helps to enhance the immune system and protect against disease. Rose hips are also known to improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol, aid in digestion, and help with weight management.

Wild prairie roses grow profusely throughout the state of North Dakota. The flower is often referred to by various names throughout the United States, such as meadow rose, smooth rose, and rosa blanda. It is considered a weed by the USDA despite its rich history and medicinal properties.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the state flower of North Dakota?

The state flower of North Dakota is the Wild Prairie Rose (Rosa arkansana). It was designated as the official state flower in 1907, symbolizing the state's appreciation for its natural beauty and prairie heritage. The Wild Prairie Rose is known for its vibrant pink petals and yellow center, and it typically blooms from June to August across the North Dakota prairie landscape.

Where can you find the Wild Prairie Rose in North Dakota?

The Wild Prairie Rose is widespread throughout North Dakota, flourishing in open prairies, along roadsides, and in meadows. It thrives in the state's temperate climate and can often be found in state parks and nature preserves. For those looking to see this flower in its natural habitat, the Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one of many places in North Dakota where the Wild Prairie Rose grows abundantly.

Why was the Wild Prairie Rose chosen as North Dakota's state flower?

The Wild Prairie Rose was chosen as North Dakota's state flower due to its common presence throughout the state and its embodiment of the spirit of the prairies. Its resilience and ability to thrive in the rugged prairie environment reflect the hardiness and perseverance of the people of North Dakota. The flower's beauty and its association with the untamed prairie made it a fitting emblem for the state.

Are there any cultural or historical significances associated with the Wild Prairie Rose?

The Wild Prairie Rose holds cultural significance in North Dakota, representing the state's natural heritage. Historically, the rose has been valued by Native American tribes for its medicinal properties and as a food source. The flower's roots, leaves, and petals were used in various traditional remedies. Its selection as the state flower over a century ago further solidified its historical importance to the people of North Dakota.

How does the Wild Prairie Rose contribute to North Dakota's ecosystem?

The Wild Prairie Rose plays a vital role in North Dakota's ecosystem by providing habitat and food for wildlife. Its flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which are essential for the pollination of many other plant species. The rose hips, which are the fruit of the rose plant, serve as a food source for birds and small mammals, especially during the fall and winter months when other food is scarce.

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    • Rose hips -- such as those from the prairie rose -- provide a concentrated form of vitamin C and are sometimes added to vitamin supplements.
      By: WuTtY
      Rose hips -- such as those from the prairie rose -- provide a concentrated form of vitamin C and are sometimes added to vitamin supplements.