Tennessee State Flower
The iris was recognized as the Tennessee State Flower in 1933. The purple iris is generally accepted as the floral emblem of the “Volunteer State,” though the legislature didn’t specify a particular color or species in its official naming. There was just one problem. In 1919 a five-member state commission entrusted school children to vote for an appropriate state flower. Their choice — the purple passion flower.
When garden clubs pressured the legislature to designate the iris in 1933, passion flower fans were quite unhappy. For forty years Tennessee was represented by two state flowers. In 1973 the General Assembly resolved the situation by honoring both flowers. The passion flower was named the state wildflower and the iris became the state cultivated flower.
In 2012 a second state wildflower was designated. The fuschia-colored Tennessee coneflower was once a federally listed endangered plant species. Thanks to committed conservancy efforts, the herbaceous perennial was literally brought back from the brink of extinction.
Common Name: Iris
Scientific Name: Iris
Year Adopted: 1933
Peak Bloom: April to August
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