For Reasons I’m not going to get into for the moment, I decided to rank the 50 State Flowers in order. I had just over five hours for the project, which I thought would be plenty of time, but it turned out to be MUCH tougher than I thought. To pick the representative pictures below I mostly used Google Images, sifting through dozens and sometimes hundreds of photos to find the best one. I mentioned this because there is an incredible variety of what one flower can look like, and I haven’t come close to capturing them. I strongly encourage anyone interested to spend some time on Google Images looking for themselves.
I did not spend any time learning about the flowers. With my time frame I just could not, so my rankings do not reflect any cool physical properties like scent, taste or, “the ability to swallow a small child whole.” Nor did I give preference to states I like or have lived in or states that I hate (like Nebraska). Once I had pictures of all of them I looked at the 50 flowers without labels and went with what I thought was the best. Beauty was obviously a huge standard, as was uniqueness and a cool look, but sometimes a flower just struck me for reasons I can’t explain. I would love to someday look at them all in person and judge them that way, and I never thought I would say that about something as dumb as flowers.
There are not quite 50, which comes because some of the states are too sissy to have their own flower and have to share. (I did not count THAT against them either, although now I wish I had.) Some states had more than one (like a wildflower), but I generally used their regular flower except for one case where I was blown away.
Again, let me iterate: I picked these flowers “blind” of knowing their states or even their names, so any snarky comments were added after my order was chosen. Again, I recommend using Google Images to see all the different kinds. With that, I give you….
The State Flowers, ranked in order of Awesome
#45 WHITE PINE CONE AND TASSEL (Maine) – Leave it to Maine to not even be able to come up with a flower. I checked several times, and that pinecone IS their flower. This explains so much about this state.
(By the way, the above flowers all tied because they had one thing in common: YAWN!)
#30 PURPLE LILAC (New Hampshire) - I am morally opposed to lilac (as it is evil), and it disheartened me that I ranked it so high. I almost put it lower, but that would have meant violating my system, and lilac is not worth my principles
#28 COAST RHODODENDRON (Washington) – I just realized that I ranked these two next to each other, just as I did with Orange and Mock Orange and the blossoms. It’s a coincidence..that and they are vaguely dissatisfactory to me in the same way.
#21 FORGET-ME-NOT (Alaska) – These are just so cool. I found myself sad they couldn’t make the Top 20. I think five hours is way too long to spend with flowers. I’m starting to care about their feelings!
(By the way, not for nothing, but this is a real problem with Google. When you type in the wrong spelling of a word, there are so many thousands of websites with that wrong spelling that you might think you had the word right, and sometimes they don’t offer other spellings. Google should work on this. Okay, back to the flowies.)
#14 MOUNTAIN LAUREL (Connecticut and Pennsylvania) – I had this one lower because of the frilliness, but then I realized that when you look closely the mountain laurel looks just like a parasol! How cool is that?
#7 BITTERROOT (Montana) – When I just had the white ones I had this flower much lower, but the iridescent colors sort of blew me away. Some of the places this thing can grow are really amazing too. (That shouldn’t enter into the ranking, but I couldn’t help but notice that many of the pictures were in very desolate soil and rock.)
#2 MAGNOLIA (Louisiana and Mississippi) – I don’t think I had ever seen a magnolia before this (or the movie), and I cannot for the life of you explain why I knew as soon as I saw it the magnolia would be a top flower. There’s just something about it. Speaking of which….
the number one State flower is
#1 OKLAHOMA ROSE (Oklahoma) – the moment I saw it I knew. Just knew. No other flower came close. Don’t mistake the black for rot; that’s part of the color scheme. Somehow, there is both black and red in the flower. Check this one out. It’s incredible. I didn’t think they could do this, but they did, and good for Oklahoma. Coming up with two of feat, but they deserved it.