Washington State Flower
The coast rhododendron was officially designated the Washington State Flower in 1959. Washington ladies selected the bloom in 1892 for inclusion in the Chicago World’s Fair “National Garland of Flowers.” The flowering evergreen shrub is native to western North America, and is also called Pacific rhododendron and big leaf rhododendron. As you may guess from its names, the coast rhododendron is found primarily near the Pacific coast. Its range extends from northern British Columbia all the way down to Monterey, California.
The coast rhododendron is particularly beautiful in its native habitat. Northwest residents tend to choose “rhodies” with showier flowers that are easier to grow when landscaping their own gardens. Generations of hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts have enjoyed the natural beauty of the “Evergreen State” floral emblem. Despite its beauty, rhododendron leaves and flowers are toxic to humans and animals. The sprawling shrubs are highly beneficial however, as they provide year-round shelter for wildlife.
Coast Rhododendron Facts
Common Name: Coast Rhododendron
Scientific Name: Rhododendron macrophyllum
Year Adopted: 1959
Peak Bloom: May to July
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