The magnolia tree blossom is the state flower of Louisiana. The state Legislature approved the magnolia tree flower when it enacted Act No. 156 on 12 July 1900. The act does not specify a variety of magnolia. In 1950, legislation was introduced to change the state flower of Louisiana to the iris but was not adopted. The magnolia blossom is also the state flower of Mississippi.
A bill proposing that the flower of the magnolia tree be adopted as the state flower of Louisiana was introduced to the Louisiana General Assembly in 1900. The act was adopted on July 12 of that year in part because of the abundance of magnolia trees throughout the state. The Louisiana Legislature did not specify a particular species of the tree.
Several decades later, the Society for Louisiana Iris decided to introduce legislation to change the state flower of Louisiana to the iris. The legislation introduced in 1950 proposed making the magnolia the official state tree instead. Iris aficionados were concerned that the magnolia, a tree that grows in swamps, reinforced the stereotype that all people in Louisiana lived on swampland in houses on stilts. Additionally, the Society for Louisiana Irises argued that the magnolia was not unique to the state but found throughout the South.
Despite their arguments, the legislation proposed by the society was not adopted. The magnolia was re-confirmed as the state flower of Louisiana in 1990 when the state statues were revised. The Louisiana iris was selected as the state’s official wildflower, however, during this revision process. Mississippi also adopted the magnolia as its state flower in 1952.
There are many different types of magnolia trees, including evergreen and deciduous, that vary in leaf shape and plant form. The trees produce white, red, or pink blossoms that have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles instead of bees. As a result, the blossom’s carpels are sturdy. The flowers tend to be saucer or star shape, and seedlings can take up to 10 years or more before blooming.
In addition to being the state flower of Louisiana as well as Mississippi, the magnolia is also a symbol of the American South generally. The magnolia was one of the symbols the Confederate Army adopted during the American Civil War. The term steel magnolia describes a Southern woman who has survived tragedy with dignity and pride or an older woman who mentors younger girls in Southern traditions.
Magnolia tree bark has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. A solution made from the flower helps treat asthma and lung congestion. Digestive problems and nausea may be relieved by magnolia flower extract. Magnolia flower bud extract is typically used to whiten skin or ease skin irritation. Before taking a magnolia-based remedy, consult with a licensed health care professional to avoid complications.