Rhode Island’s First Flowering
With the flooding rains and the record high temperatures this spring, Rhode Island has gone into early bloom.
Rhode Island’s state flower is the Violet (viola sororia) and was selected by the public school children of the state on Arbor Day of May 1897. But never one to run with the crowd, as with ratifing the U.S. Constitution, Rhode Island was the last state in the union to officially adopt a state flower, which it finally did in March of 1968.
By accident or design, the lawn of the John Brown House lawn has a yearly display of these tiny purple gems to herald the first flush of spring in the Capitol City. Violets are native to Rhode Island and grow wild north of Washington County.
Other glorious flowers native to the Rhode Island forests are the Rhododendron and its close cousin the Azalea. Usually not in full bloom until July, several of these local beauties are rushing the season—so keep your eyes peeled and consider a walk on the Long Pond Woods Trail in the Long and Ell Ponds Natural Area to see it’s giant rhododendron colony.
Selected flower resources:
—Phoebe Bean, Printed Collections Librarian