|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
The peony became the fourth state flower adopted by the Indiana legislature on March 15, 1957. It followed the carnation, the tulip tree, and the zinnia.
Carnation as State Flower
The Indiana legislature chose the Carnation as the Indiana State Flower on March 15, 1913. Since the carnation is not native to Indiana, many protested the decision. So, the legislature deposed the carnation ten years later.
The Tulip Tree as State Flower
In 1923 the Legislature adopted the blossom of the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), also called yellow, or tulip, poplar. The tulip tree is a beautiful flower, and a native tree. However, the blossoms are borne high in the tree canopy, making them hard to see. Thus, in 1931 the legislature made the tulip tree the state tree, instead, and crowned the zinnia as the third Indiana State Flower.
The Zinnia as Indiana State Flower
The zinnia reigned supreme in state gardens for twenty-four years. In 1957, the legislature once again took up the subject of the State Flower. Unverified rumors persist that commercial seed producer that grew zinnia seeds helped nudge the zinnia into the role.
The Peony as State Flower
On March 15, 1957, the legislature deposed the zinnia, crowning the peony, instead. Once again, rumors circulate about politics playing a role in the decision. The legislature reportedly had been considering the dogwood blossom, which is native to Indiana, as the state flower. However, a large commercial peony grower managed to substitute the peony, a native of Asia, instead. At any rate, the peony has reigned as the State Flower of Indiana ever since.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning