We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Washington's State Flower?

By Angie Bates
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
America Explained is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At America Explained, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Washington's state flower is the coast rhododendron, also known as the Pacific rhododendron. Nicknamed rhodies, coast rhododendrons are flowering shrubs found to the west of the Cascade mountains. The scientific, or botanical, name for this rhododendron is Rhododendron macrophyllum.

Evergreen, coast rhododendrons keep their leathery leaves all year long. A deep green, the roughly oval leaves have pointed edges. The leaves are generally between 3 and 8 inches (8–20 cm) long. This rhododendron produces small, reddish brown, capsule-shaped fruit. The fruit is usually only 0.78 inches (2 cm) long.

The flowers on this shrub are usually pale pink but can be found in various shades of pink to an almost purple red. Occurring in clusters only at the end of branches, the flowers have a bell-like shape. The number of clusters varies from relatively few to nearly covering the plant. Washington's state flower usually blooms in May through July, but may bloom as early as April.

The shrub itself can grow as tall as 26 feet (8 meters). Although they do well in full sunlight, these plants actually grow taller when they are in a shaded area. More than 60 percent shade, however, is not good for these rhododendrons.

The coast rhododendron generally prefers moist, but well drained, acidic soils. Since their blooms are showy, they are sometimes used in gardens. These plants are slow growing and relatively low-maintenance, requiring little pruning or additional attention. The leaves do produce a toxin, however, which is poisonous if ingested. Animals usually find the taste of rhododendrons unpalatable, but occasionally have been known to eat the leaves.

Washington's state flower also grows in the wild. Often found at the edge of forests, this shrub is found around thickets and areas that have been affected by forest fires as well. Though animals do not usually eat them, butterflies often visit the blooming shrubs to feast on the flowers' nectar. This shrub is protected by the Washington legislature, and picking wild coast rhododendron flowers is expressly forbidden because of their state flower status.

Though not officially designated Washington's state flower until 1959, the coast rhododendron was voted to the title in 1892. The election came in time for the newly appointed flower to be showcased in the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Although women did not yet have the right to vote in public elections, the election to name the coast rhododendron to state flower was held entirely by women.

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.
Discussion Comments
America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.