Florida Fast Facts: Orange Blossom, the State Flower of Florida
A national flower is often chosen by countries to represent themselves to the world – think English Rose, Dutch Tulip or Austrian Edelweiss – but did you know that each American state also has its own official flower?
Florida is well known for its sunshine, its sandy shores, and of course for its juicy oranges, so it should come as no shock to discover that the state flower of Florida is the humble, yet elegant orange blossom.
This understated bloom – citrus sinensis to your botanist buddies – was aptly recognised by the Florida legislature as the official state flower back in 1909. It has remained popular ever since, and no wonder, with Florida remaining the most prolific orange producing state in the US.
Fragrant galaxies of this stellar little flower erupt across the Sunshine State each year, bedecking the air with a delightful perfume that tells Floridians springtime has truly arrived.
Common in central and southern Florida, the orange tree’s delicate flower is actually native to South-East Asia and is frequently harvested itself to be used in citrus scented alternatives to rose water, or in the production of an essential oil for skin care and aromatherapy. Beyond that, the flower is a favourite with local bees, who make a delicious orange blossom honey, popular for its delightful, orange-tinged taste.
Whilst it enjoys plenty of bright sunshine, the orange tree itself also thrives in sandy soils making it perfectly suited to the Florida climate. The tree’s attractive white flower emerges in the springtime, boasting a distinctive snow-white star shape, composed of five radial petals, and effusing a delicate, sweet fragrance.
The arrival of the flower heralds the coming orange harvest, sure to follow a few months later, yet with its spring emergence, Florida’s attractive state flower also often heralds a time of celebration. The Orange Blossom Festival of Davie, north of Miami, sees lovers cheer the arrival of the blooms. Whilst between 1925 and 1953, the ‘Orange Blossom Special’ – a train from New York named in honour of the fruity flower – brought holiday-makers from the Big Apple in search of restorative Florida sunshine.
This association with good luck, health and fertility goes at least as far back as the 19th century, when brides would fashion headdresses and bouquets from the flower – the association of flower and fruit was a powerful symbol of impending fertility.
So why not get a bit fruity yourself? Get those juices flowing and come and smell for yourself, the heady fragrance of Florida in the springtime. Book a break with Florida Holidays for 2013 and let the possibilities bloom.