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.
Botanical Name: Iris germinica
Colors: Purple for the State Flower, but it comes in White, Yellow, Blue, Red, and Pink
Blooms: March to June
Fun Facts: The name Iris comes from Greek for rainbow, a reference to the many colors that irises grow in. They have a lovely scent. Most Irises in Tennessee are shades of Purple. They look like orchids, but they are a separate species.
Tennessee State Flower Coloring Pages
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Iris facts by State Flowers of the USA Coloring Book
Iris photograph by pixel2013
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