- Designated the state flower by the Florida Legislature in 1909
- Botanical name: Citrus sinensis
- The orange blossom is native to southeast Asia
- Orange Blossom trivia: Orange blossom petals can be made into a citrus scented version of rose water
When people think of Florida, they conjure up images of sunshine, and beaches and, of course, Florida oranges. It may come as little surprise then that the state flower of Florida is none other than the orange blossom, the flower of the orange fruit tree. Florida is the largest producer of oranges in the United States. Each spring, the scent of countless flowering orange blossoms fills the air in parts of central and southern Florida.
The orange tree is an evergreen that reaches heights of 20-30 feet and grows in full sun and in sandy soil. It thrives in Florida, thanks to its climate and typically abundant rainfall. The tree flowers in spring, producing white orange blossoms that are made up of five waxy petals and give off a sweet, fragrant scent. Months after the arrival of its blossoms, the orange tree bears its fruit, which is commonly called the sweet or navel orange.
Florida's state flower has long been associated with good fortune. Bouquets and tiaras made with fragrant orange blossom flowers were a popular favorite of brides in the Victorian era. The blossoms' ability to both bear flowers and produce fruit is said to represent fertility.
Orange blossom season is also associated with good times. From 1925 to 1953, a passenger train named the "Orange Blossom Special" brought well-to-do vacationers to sunny Florida from New York, winding its way from Jacksonville to Miami. In the wintertime only, a section of the train trekked to Tampa and St. Petersburg, dropping winter-weary passengers off at resorts for restorative vacations.
The arrival of orange blossoms continues to be a cause for celebration for some Floridians. In Davie, a small town north of Miami, flower lovers celebrate the arrival of the Florida state flower with the Orange Blossom Festival. The three-day rodeo and music event celebrates Florida's agricultural history.
Beyond its attractiveness and romantic image, Florida's state flower is also commercially valuable. Products made from the flowers include an essential oil that is sometimes used in natural skin care products and in aromatherapy. Honeybees make a favorite product from the flower: orange blossom honey. Its orange flavor and mild taste make it a popular treat.