Missouri State Flower - Hawthorn

The white blossom of the hawthorn tree was name Missouri's state flower in 1923.

The white blossom of the hawthorn tree was name Missouri's state flower in 1923.

When Missouri chose the hawthorn blossom as its official state flower, lawmakers didn't get specific. More than 75 species of hawthorn grow in the state, but there is no single official flower. The only specification is that the flower is white. Hawthorn trees are small and bushy. They tend to grow as wide as they grow tall. Be careful if you want to snip a few branches for a bouquet: The branches can have thorns.


The hawthorn tree's flowers bloom in white clusters with greenish-yellow centers in May and June. The hawthorn is a member of the rose family, and the flowers resemble roses. The tree's foliage is medium-green and fuzzy, and the branches have varying degrees of thorniness. When the flowers finish, tiny red apples grow in their place. The apples, which resemble berries, last throughout fall, making the hawthorn equally desirable for its spring and autumn beauty.


Missouri Governor Arthur M. Hyde signed a bill to make the white hawthorn blossom the state flower on March 16, 1923. At the time, legislators encouraged the planting of hawthorn trees, and because the trees self-propagate easily, hawthorns are now a staple of the state's landscape. The hawthorn is native to Missouri, and the tree grows in every county in the state.

Growing and Care

Hawthorns aren't particular about growing conditions. The perennials thrive in shade, partial sun or full sun and can tolerate dry or moist soil, as long as it drains well. They grow in acidic, alkaline or clay soils and are drought-tolerant. Hawthorns grow 20 to 30 feet tall and 20 to 30 feet wide. Because hawthorns are susceptible to rust blights, they should not be planted near red cedars, which can also be plagued by rusts.

Fun Facts

More than 1,000 hawthorn species can be found around the world. Birds, particularly songbirds, and other wildlife like to nibble the berries, and humans have uses for them, too. The berries can be used in jams and teas and for medicinal purposes, particularly to improve circulation. The state's tree is the dogwood, and because the hawthorn and the dogwood are both trees and can have white blooms, some people get confused about which is the official flower and which is the official tree.

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Photo Credits

  • bee with honey on the hawthorn flower image by Andry(ii) Gudets from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>


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