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What Is the State Flower of Michigan?

By Mark Wollacott
Updated: May 17, 2024

The state flower of Michigan is the apple blossom. The Latin name for the plant is the pyrus coronaria and it is also known as the “sweet crabapple.” The plant was formally adopted in 1897 and is well known for its pink and white fragrant petals. The same flower was also adopted by the state of Arkansas four years later in 1901. The state of Michigan is ranked second, behind Arkansas, in apple production in the United States.

The pyrus coronaria is a short apple tree standing between 6 and 14 feet in height (2 to 4 meters). It has fragrant flowers that blossom in mid-May, but only last for about a week. Their fragile beauty, like the cherry blossoms in Japan, have inspired generations of poets and artists. Hairless twigs give way to the apple blossom’s small, rounded leaves. The king blossom is the first flower to bloom on each twig, with smaller flowers blossoming soon after.

William Harris of Norwood first proposed the idea of a state flower of Michigan in 1897 in order to give the state a sense of “refined sentiment.” The idea received wide approval in the state and was passed as joint resolution 10. The resolution for a state flower of Michigan was passed by both the state’s senate and its house of representatives. The resolution stated that the apple blossom was chosen because it was native to Michigan, fragrant and added beauty to the landscape of the state.

The state flower of Michigan might be the apple blossom, but there are many other types of apples in the state. The state has a total of around 8 to 9 million apple trees; these range from granny smiths to red and golden delicious. The number of apple farms across the state is falling, but the number of trees is gaining with gala apples rising in popularity. Since 1950, as well has having the state flower of Michigan, the state has held a Michigan Apple Queen to celebrate beauty, public speaking and apple knowledge in the apple farming community. Each year, the Queen is crowned at the state’s apple pageant.

Michigan has a number of other state symbols such as the wolverine, painted turtle and the brook trout. Plants also feature heavily in the state’s iconography. As well as having the apple blossom as the state flower of Michigan, the state has the white pine as its state tree and the dwarf lake iris as its state wild flower.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Discussion Comments
By StarJo — On Jan 14, 2012

I live in the deep South, and we have lots of apple trees down here. I never really thought that they could flourish as far north as Michigan.

I love the mixture of tiny, unopened buds and blossoms in full flower. The buds are still bright pink, while the open flowers are white with just a few pink streaks.

I have a crabapple tree in my yard, and I can tell you that it attracts lots of insects. It is nice to see all the butterflies flitting around on it, but the bees can be a nuisance. I can hear them buzzing from several feet away, and I know to stay back when I hear this sound.

The best time to get near a crabapple tree and smell the blooms is right around sunset. The bees have calmed down and gone away by then, so I don't have to worry about getting stung in the nose!

By cloudel — On Jan 14, 2012

@seag47 – It sounds wonderful. I live in a city, so I've never seen an apple blossom up close, but your description makes me want to visit Michigan!

Nine million apple trees sounds like a lot to me. It must be how this flower became the state flower.

I've never been a fan of crabapples, but I do love gala apples. It's nice to know that these are being grown in the United States. So much fruit is produced overseas, and it is good to be able to buy apples from my home country.

By orangey03 — On Jan 13, 2012

My uncle owns an apple orchard in Michigan, and I go up there for a visit while the trees are blooming. I am an artist, and I love to paint my subjects in person, rather than from photographs. I get a better feel for them that way.

The sweet aroma of the blossoms from all the trees together is almost overpowering, but in a good way. I think it inspires me to make the painting of the blossoms extra beautiful, because I try to incorporate this aromatic beauty into my expression, as well.

I take one painting home, but I leave several with my uncle, because he sells them to visitors. People who come to the orchard are already apple lovers, so these paintings appeal to them, and he can sell them for a high price.

By seag47 — On Jan 13, 2012

I have seen these apple trees in bloom in Michigan, and it really is a magical experience. Just looking at the blooms up close transports me to paradise. I am able to imagine that I am in a heavenly valley.

Seeing an entire tree smothered with white and pink flowers is so special. They are so short-lived that you have to enjoy every moment of the blooming season. I take lots of photographs, and I only wish I could capture that scent somehow.

The smell is sweeter than the best perfume. Its appeal is indescribable. You just have to see and smell it for yourself to understand.

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