18 Nov

The State Flower of Massachusetts: The Mayflower


The first state founded in the United States, the Mayflower landed on the shores of Massachusetts carrying the Pilgrims that would go on to become the country’s fore founders. It’s suspected that these same Pilgrims actually named the small white flowers they found growing in their new home when they saw the plant. It is these pretty little mayflowers that are the state flower of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts had a hard time getting a bill passed to name the mayflower as Massachusetts state flower. The first two bills introduced in 1900 and 1901 both failed. A bill introduced in 1905 seemed to have support, but there was competition with the water lily. Ultimately it was up to the school children of the state to determine the state flower. The mayflower won by more than twice as many votes.

Mayflowers in Massachusetts

Outside of the glorious history associated with the name of the flower, the mayflower holds special meaning to the people of Massachusetts. The flower is one of the most recognizable wildflowers in the state and especially lovely and fragrant. It’s usually the first flower to peek through the snow in the very early spring. The mayflowers are tiny, only half an inch across when straightened, and the blossoms grow close to the ground on a low, spreading shrub.

The blossoms appear pink and gradually fade to white. The scent of the mayflowers is powerful and many enjoy the fresh fragrance. The spreading shrub is very woodland-like, appropriate for its favored growing location.

Growing Mayflowers

Mayflowers grow on a shrub and appear in the spring. The mayflowers prefer conditions often found in forested areas. The small flowers prefer damp shady conditions with acidic soil for optimum growth. The small plants are notoriously hard to grow and are difficult to transplant away from the piney woods they enjoy so much.

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