What do you think of when Florida comes to mind? White sandy beaches? Retirees? Sunshine? How about oranges? It will undoubtedly come as no surprise that the state floral emblem for Florida is the Orange Blossom. The Orange Blossom is the fragrant flower of the Citrus sinensis (orange tree). It was chosen in 1909 as Florida produces more citrus than any other state and one of its many nicknames is “The Orange State”. Florida also has a state wildflower, the Coreopsis, the common name is tickseed.
Orange trees and other citrus trees are grown all over central and southern Florida. The blooms are extremely fragrant and, in the Spring, when they are in full bloom, they saturate the air with their sweet fragrance in the miles and miles of citrus groves. Orange Blossoms are traditionally associated with good fortune and have been popular in bridal bouquets and head wreaths for weddings. The blooms are small, waxy, and white with four oblong, oval petals. They typically grow in clusters of 2-6 blooms. Orange trees are native to southeastern Asia. The seeds have been transported and planted all over the world over the centuries by travelers and settlers. They are not native to Florida but were brought by early Spanish colonists to both North and South America.
The state’s wildflower floral emblem, Coreopsis or tickseed, is a native wildflower that has been used extensively throughout the state for beautification projects. It is a favorite for planting along highways and roadsides, being a native plant, it requires no real care, but lots of natural beauty. There are 17 native species and they come in a variety of colors ranging from yellow golden to pink.