In 1926, the giant goldenrod was officially chosen as the Kentucky state flower. There are numerous sets of goldenrods, and the state does not formally recognize one specific type as its state flower. The giant goldenrod also goes by its scientific name, Solidago gigantea. The state flower of Nebraska is another variety of goldenrod, Solidago serotina, easily mistaken for the giant goldenrod. Goldenrods also symbolize well wishes, good luck, and fortune for someone.
So, why is the giant goldenrod the Kentucky state flower? Does giant goldenrod grow in Kentucky? What does the giant goldenrod represent? What are some facts about the giant goldenrod?
Continue to read to learn more about the Kentucky state flower.
Was Bluegrass at One Time the State Flower of Kentucky?
According to Kentucky Today, the bluegrass became the state flower in 1911. Kentucky also had the nickname “Bluegrass State,” which would suit it well since that was the official state’s flower. However, bluegrass was only the official state flower for a handful of years as 1926 would later replace it with the giant goldenrod flower.
Why is the Giant Goldenrod the Kentucky State Flower?
Before 1926, the unofficial flower of Kentucky was the Trumpet Vine, while the official state flower was the bluegrass. The Trumpet Vine was the unofficial flower of the state due to the United States War Department using it as a symbol for the Kentucky Active Militia. Meanwhile, the bluegrass was the state flower because it grew naturally in Kentucky. At the same time, the Kentucky Women Club was advocating for the goldenrod flower to be the state flower, so there was debate about what the state flower should be across many groups.
In 1926, the Kentucky legislature chose to replace the bluegrass with the giant goldenrod as the official state flower of Kentucky to represent the agricultural diversity of Kentucky. Bluegrass only grows in one region, while the giant goldenrod grows throughout Kentucky. Because bluegrass used to be the Kentucky state flower, many often refer to Kentucky as the bluegrass state.
The golden hue of the giant goldenrod evokes a sense of richness and prosperity, an awe-inspiring sight when witnessed on Kentucky’s open fields characteristic of their geography.
Do Giant Goldenrods Grow in Kentucky?
Native to Kentucky, giant goldenrods grow throughout the entire state. These flowers can thrive in various environments and bloom in late summer or early fall. Thirty out of 100 species of goldenrod grow in Kentucky, making them a popular motif of Kentucky’s landscape.
Most other varieties of goldenrods grow in the Eastern part of North America in states like Delaware, Alabama, and South Carolina. Goldenrods thrive in sandy or fertile soil and full sun with partial sun. Goldenrods thrive in USDA zones 3-9.
The goldenrod is so prolific in Kentucky that the golden flowers are depicted on the state flag along with the other state symbol, two men shaking hands to represent the state motto: “United we stand; divided we fall.”
What are the Characteristics and More of a Goldenrod?
A goldenrod flower is a perennial herb part of the Aster Family. It has green stems and yellow flower heads. Typically, it blooms during the summer and grows to about one to two feet in height. You will find these flowers throughout mountains, roads, and even woodlands.
Growing in open fields and along Kentucky roadsides, the giant goldenrod is an apt flower to represent the optimism characteristic of the state of Kentucky, which is why it became the state flower.
What Does the Giant Goldenrod Represent?
Giant goldenrods have historically represented optimism in poetry and literature. Due to their golden color, giant goldenrod can also symbolize riches, prosperity, and new beginnings. Goldenrods also represent the warmth and brightness of the sun.
Associated with vast open plains where they grow, Kentuckians view these yellow flowers as a representation of hope and the feeling of starting fresh. Goldenrods can be an excellent gift for friends and family on birthdays, holidays, graduation, or other celebratory events. Gifting the goldenrod is a great way to wish someone luck and fortune in their future.
Native to China, the giant goldenrod has also served as a symbol of riches; legend says the goldenrod grows where the treasure is buried. Many in China will plant the goldenrod around their homes to attract wealth.
What are Some Facts about the Giant Goldenrod?
- Giant goldenrods provide medicinal value to people. Native Americans, for example, would use the goldenrod to address respiratory illnesses, reduce fevers, and address other diseases and symptoms.
- You can make tea from this wildflower’s leaves to reduce fevers and combat depression and anxiety.
- Goldenrods are wind-pollinated as the tiny hairs on the goldenrod seed catch the wind with ease.
- Goldenrod is also pollinated by bees and wasps attracted to the bright, golden color of the flowers.
- Giant goldenrod can grow up to eight feet tall, twice as high as other goldenrod varieties.
- Some varieties of goldenrod contain rubber.
Conclusion: What is the Kentucky State Flower?
The Kentucky state flower is the giant goldenrod, also known as Solidago gigantea, as it best represents the agricultural makeup of Kentucky. The Kentucky state flower used to be bluegrass, but because the bluegrass was not a very prolific plant in Kentucky, the goldenrod was favored instead. This change occurred in 1926 when the goldenrod became the new state flower.
The giant goldenrod grows in Kentucky along with twenty-nine other varieties of goldenrods. Goldenrods grow all over the Eastern side of North America. With its bright, golden color, the giant goldenrod symbolizes fortune, joy, optimism, and opportunity.