March to June
Since 1925, it has been illegal to remove the flower from its natural setting because the leaves were over-collected due to their popularity for wreath-making.
At one time, Mayflowers were used to treat kidney stones.
Image courtesy of Nancy.
How appropriate that the Mayflower is the Massachusetts state flower! After all, the plant bears the same name as the rugged vessel that carried the state’s most famous residents, the Pilgrims, to its shores in 1620. The arrival (and survival) of the Pilgrims and the colony they established is still commemorated today through the annual holiday of Thanksgiving.
Despite its obvious fit, the Mayflower was not the clear choice when the decision of the state flower first arose. Bills in 1900 and 1901 to designate the Mayflower as the Massachusetts state flower were both defeated. Not until some 17 years later was the matter firmly decided when the State Board of Education put the issue before the state’s school children. By a ratio of 2:1, the students chose the Mayflower over the Water Lily.
The Massachusetts state flower is an evergreen ground shrub that can trail for 15 feet. It is found in 29 states in the eastern United States as well as parts of Canada.
Within the Bay State, Mayflowers are found in every county. The plant prefers to grow in sandy and rocky terrain as well as along trail edges and forest clearings. From March to July, Mayflowers produce numerous clusters of delicate blossoms. The tiny flowers range from pink to white in color and 1/3- to 3/4 inches wide in size. They give off a fragrant, spicy scent that intensifies over time.
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Top image courtesy of Fritz Flohr Reynolds.