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.
Botanical Name: Rhododendron macrophyllum
Colors: Light to Dark Purple
Blooms: May or June
Fun Facts: There are many types of Rhododendron, and the Washington Rhododendron is the Coastal Rhododendron. The shrub is actually called the King of Shrubs. On some of the flowers the colors White and light Purple and dark Purple coexist on the same flower. They are native to Asia, and North America both.
Washington State Flower Coloring Pages
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Coast Rhododendron facts by State Flowers of the USA Coloring Book
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