Mississippi State Flower - Magnolia

The regal magnolia holds the distinction of being the official state flower for two states -- Mississippi and Louisiana. This evergreen tree with its wide, elegant flowers is decidedly a Southern bloom. However, travelers may find some cultivars growing in the West Indies, Mexico and even Asia.



Overview

The state of Mississippi didn't rely solely on the legislature to make their flower choice. In 1900, flower ballots were given to over 23,000 school children in the state's schools. When the votes were tallied, the magnolia beat the cotton blossom and the cape jasmine by a landslide. However, the vote wasn't made official until 1952, when the legislature placed the ballot results on the state's agenda. No challenges were made to the children's decision, and Mississippi had an official flower. The evergreen magnolia tree became the state's tree in 1938.



Mississippi History

The magnolia is one of the most photographed and painted flowers in the United States. The flowers of the Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) are massive, expanding up to 1 foot wide. Each flower contains six large outer flowers and five or more center flowers. The outer flowers, when opened to a full bloom, are flat with a slight curl at the tip. The inner flower curl at the sides protectively. They have a distinctly sweet scent and thick, waxy leaves. Magnolias blooms are easily recognized by their ivory white color. Directly behind the flower are large, deep green leaves that fold out and support the heavy blooms.



Flower Description

GMagnolias don't grow quickly from seedlings. According to Clemson University, growing these flowers from pods could take up to 20 years. Most often, flower lovers grow this species as ornamental landscape trees or in pots where they are grown as flowering shrubs. When left to grow as trees, the magnolia can reach up to 80 feet in height and 30 feet in width. Harvesting the magnificent blooms when the trees reach such massive heights can be challenging without a ladder.



Growing Magnolias

The state of Mississippi is proud of their tree. You can find these gracious specimens growing wild in the countryside or planted next to stately homes in cities like Tupelo and Natchez. Woodworkers in the area use the wood of these trees to create furniture, home accessories and wooden keepsakes for visitors. The flower's name is commonly used in business signage and in the names of residential streets.



Magnolias in Mississippi

 


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