The state floral emblem of Missouri is the White Hawthorn Blossom and was designated as such in March of 1923. There are over 75 species of hawthorn in Missouri, particularly in the Ozarks region, and while the legislation does not name a particular variety, downy hawthorn (Crataegus mollis) is commonly thought to be the intended variety.
Hawthorn is in the Rosaceae family, the same family includes Roses, Spirea, and many fruiting trees such as apple, which Hawthorn is closely related to. Hawthorn grows as a large thorny shrub or small tree, up to 20 feet high. Hawthorn flowers bloom in Spring, generally in May, in clusters of white, yellow or pink. The delicate blooms have five petals and are followed by small red fruits called “haws” in the late summer. The haws are used by locals to make jellies and jams as well as consumed by wildlife and often remain on the branches well into winter.