The White Pine Cone and Tassel is the official State Flower of Maine. Maine Adopted the White Pine Cone and Tassel as Its state flower in 1895. For the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, States were asked to choose Flower and Floral Emblems. Three candidates were chosen.
Two, the goldenrod and apple blossom, were genuine flowers. The third was the pine cone and tassel. The pine cone won 10,000 of 17,000 votes. The white pine cone and tassel were adopted as Maine State Flower on February 1, 1895. Maine is the only US state with a state flower that is not actually a flower. The state’s official flower is the white pine cone and tassel, which comes from the eastern white pine tree.
Botanically, the State Flower of Maine white pine cone and tassel is not a flower, but rather a gymnosperm, as it does not have true flowers. Classified under the family Pinaceae, the white pine cone and tassel comes from the eastern white pine, which is Maine’s official state tree. The Maine State Flower white pine cone and tassel blooms in spring, but are not ornamentally significant. The cone has staminate flowers held in clusters of green and blue needles.
Male flowers are about 8 mm long and are located at the base of new shoots and older lateral branches in the lower crown, while female flowers are located on the upper crown. The cones are brown and slender and grow alongside needles at the end of branches. Male flowers or cones fall off almost immediately after pollination, while female cones take months or even years to fully mature and fall. The cones have a fragrant gummy resin and contain thin scales that rarely prick.
The State Flower of Maine Eastern white pine is a conifer plant that grows abundantly across Maine and has historically been associated with the state’s lumber industry. The tree has long dominated the state’s landscape, from the thick inland wilderness to its rocky seacoast. Wood from the white pine tree has been a major source of the state’s economic growth since the 1600s, and its uses included shipbuilding, wagons, flooring, furniture, and fences. The Maine State Flower Tree is also used in Maine for reforestation and landscaping. Tree trunks of the white pine were also used to make ship masts during the colonial period.