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State Flower

What Is the Pennsylvania State Flower?

by Nicholas Karatzas 23 Feb 2023

The official state flower of Pennsylvania is the Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia). It was designated as the state flower in 1933. This fragrant evergreen shrub is native to many parts of the United States, including Pennsylvania. For centuries, it has been a symbol of strength, beauty, and tenacity—qualities that make it an excellent choice for Pennsylvania's official flower.

What Does Mountain Laurel Mean?

Mountain laurel has long been a symbol of strength and beauty in Pennsylvania. Its delicate white and pink flowers are a reminder of the fragility and beauty of life. The sturdy branches evoke feelings of resilience and perseverance—qualities that Pennsylvanians have come to appreciate throughout their history.

History Of The State Flower

The Mountain Laurel was officially designated as the state flower in 1933 after being proposed by schoolchildren from across the Commonwealth. Prior to this, there had never been an official state flower for Pennsylvania. In choosing the Mountain Laurel as their official flower, Pennsylvanians were honoring its rich cultural history while celebrating its beauty and resilience.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Pennsylvania State Flower

Q: Are there any other symbols associated with the Mountain Laurel?

A: Yes! In addition to being the state flower of Pennsylvania, the Mountain Laurel is also featured on some versions of the state flag and seal. It is also featured on coins minted in 1877 and 1908 as part of a series celebrating each US state’s flag design at that time.

Q: How can I plant my own Mountain Laurels?

A: Planting your own mountain laurels can be done quite easily if you have access to a garden center or nursery with them in stock. Generally speaking, they do best when planted in soil that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged and should be placed in areas with plenty of sunlight–though not direct sunlight–for optimal health. Additionally, they should be mulched regularly to keep weeds away from their roots and help retain moisture levels during dryer seasons or times when watering may be difficult or inconvenient.

The Mountain Laurel is an ideal representation of what it means to be a Pennsylvanian—strength, beauty, tenacity, resilience—all qualities embodied within this charming evergreen shrub whose fragrance enlivens any garden or landscape it graces. Whether you're admiring its delicate blooms or planting your own patch for future generations to enjoy, you're sure to appreciate all that this beloved state flower has come to represent over time. From its critical role in our shared cultural heritage, to its symbolism for modern-day Pennsylvanians, this unique bloom will continue to bring joy for many years to come. 

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