Wyoming State Flower
The Indian paintbrush was designated the Wyoming State Flower in 1917. Not everyone agreed with the choice. University of Wyoming’s Dr. Aven Nelson made his objections known in the Wyoming School Journal of 1917. A highly respected botanist, Dr. Nelson argued that the plant wasn’t common in the state, that it was parasitic, and that there were so many varietals only an expert could tell them apart. Dr. Nelson favored a state flower such as columbine, which was common in Wyoming and easy to grow in home gardens. He also suggested the fringed gentian, an unofficial state flower chosen by school children in the early 1900s.
The Wyoming Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution campaigned for the Indian paintbrush. Their cause was greatly aided by Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard, an accomplished educator at the University of Wyoming, and the state’s first female attorney. Dr. Hebard drafted legislation, secured a sponsor, and commissioned a New York artist to paint a picture of the Indian paintbrush for legislators. Thanks to the commitment of these women, the Indian paintbrush was chosen as the official floral emblem of the “Equality State.” Dr. Hebard presented the painting to the state after the legislation was approved.
Indian Paintbrush Facts
Common Name: Indian Paintbrush
Scientific Name: Castilleja linariaefolia
Year Adopted: 1917
Peak Bloom: April to June
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