Fast Facts

  • Proclaimed the state flower in 1955
  • Botanical name: Rosa
  • To say roses have a long history would be an understatement. Rose fossils have been found up to 35 million years old and its cultivation in gardens goes back at least 5,000 years.
  • Rose Trivia: Rose hips, the fruit of the rose plant, is one of nature’s most concentrated sources of Vitamin C.
  • New York Flower Delivery

Even though the school children of New York state were asked to vote for state flower as early as 1890, for some reason the state legislature never officially proclaimed a winner until 1955. The rose was actually the children’s second choice as the New York state flower, losing out to the goldenrod but soundly defeating the daisy. In a run-off election in 1891, however, the rose won handily. As the rose has historically been one of the most highly cultivated flowers, with more than 150 species and 20,000 hybrids in existence, the New York legislature wisely chose not to play favorites and in their 1955 proclamation included roses “in any color or combination of colors common to it.” Roses grow well throughout the U.S., and can be found all across New York State, from New York City in the south to Rochester in the north, though the Hudson Valley region seems to be most vibrant producer of the New York state flower. While rose gardens have been a staple of parks and private estates in Europe for centuries, the rose gardens of the Hudson Valley seem to have taken the art form to new level. The Hudson flows from upstate New York in the vicinity of the state capitol in Albany, past historic sites such as Sleepy Hollow and Dobb’s Ferry, and on past Yonkers to New York City, feeding lush flower gardens all along the way. Hudson Valley floral and tourist associations arrange tours and distribute maps of the most famous rose gardens, many on former estates of the fabulously wealthy now opened to the public. Among them are: Kykuit, home to four generations of the Rockefeller dynasty, boasts magnificent views and a beaux-arts landscape created in 1907, including a formal rose garden. The Vanderbilt Mansion, one of the Hudson Valley’s greatest estates, has a rose garden with more than 1,200 plants. Lyndhurst, an historic 19th-century Gothic Revival estate, includes an 1870 conservatory greenhouse and a rose garden that has 100 varieties of roses designed in a circular pattern. Boscobel an elegant, neo-classical mansion sited high above the Hudson River, has a formal rose garden with a central fountain and more than 140 varieties of roses and 600 other plants. While rose plants do grow wild in New York, we’re reasonably certain that the schoolchildren and state legislature had the varieties we’ve grown to love as bouquets and centerpieces in mind when they proclaimed the rose as the New York state flower. For more on roses themselves, please see our pages on Rose Traditions and Rose Colors & Meanings. New York state flower sources: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/roses/history.html