Delaware State Flower - Peach Blossom

Blossoming peach branches can be used to create an Asian-inspired arrangement.

Blossoming peach branches can be used to create an Asian-inspired arrangement.

Beauty, fragrance and a payoff of fresh fruit after the bloom fades: the perfect combination for a state’s flower. Pink blossoms with red stamens stand out against the bare peach tree (Prunus persica) in Delaware’s early spring. Its status as the once-largest peach-producing state led to the adoption of the peach blossom by the Delaware legislature. Today, Delaware has traded peach production for chemical production, but the state’s floral emblem remains as a symbol of its once fertile peach orchards.

Facts

The peach is native to China and was introduced into Delaware in the 1500s by Portuguese and Spanish explorers. Although once the largest peach producer in the nation, Delaware is now 21st, with most of the orchards located in Sussex County. Peach blossom buds are produced on current year’s growth in the summer and remain dormant until the tree has received sufficient cooling -- temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit for a certain number of hours. This typically occurs in spring in Delaware, which is when the buds bloom into peach blossoms.

History

Because the state was situated on a major railroad line, it was in an ideal position to produce and ship fresh peaches. At one time, the state shipped 6 million baskets of peaches across the United States, giving it the nickname The Peach State. When it came time to choose a state flower, though, goldenrod gave the peach blossom stiff competition. When residents were given a voice in the matter, it became clear that the peach blossom was the overwhelming choice for a state flower. The Delaware legislature listened and, in 1895, named the peach blossom the state’s floral emblem.

Cultivation Notes

The most important part of growing peaches is protection from frost damage. Providing adequate air circulation around the tree goes a long way in providing this protection. Peach trees also require good soil drainage, and the experts with the United States Department of Agriculture warn against planting the tree in areas where rain water puddles for three or more days.

Uses

Peach blossoms have long been used in folk and herbal medicine. Distilled into syrup, it has been used to treat gout, jaundice and drug withdrawal symptoms. Peach blossoms play a prominent role in Chinese culture. Native American tribes, such as the Delaware, used a solution from catnip and peach seed as a pediatric tonic. Peach blossom is a common addition to perfumes, such as Tommy Hilfiger’s Peach Blossom and Fleurs de Pecher from L’Occitane.

References & Resources



About the Author

Photo Credits

  • Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images

 


OrderFlowers 2011 © All rights reserved.