Ohio has three floral emblems – a state wildflower – the Large White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum). a state flower – the Red Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus), and a state tree – the Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra). I grew up in Ohio and have traversed the state from the Ohio River to the islands of Lake Erie and wildflowers abound everywhere in between. The Ohio River is my favorite environment with its steep valley, broad waters, and banks filled with trees and flowers. The White Trillium lives here, and if you are a trillium lover like me, you never grow weary of climbing the next ridge in hopes of a grand display of unending blooms. What is it about the trillium that is so captivating?
The blossom is as simple as can be. Three is the magic number – never less – never more. The grandiflorum is true to its Latin name and is a large, grand blossom around three inches across. This variety is always white although as the blossom ages, it will turn a soft pink. Blooms start in late March and persist until mid-April when the plant gradually fades and is entirely gone by June 1st to sleep in readiness for the following Spring. It is one of my top ten wildflowers.
The carnation was adopted by Ohio as its state flower in 1903 and was a favorite of President McKinley. It is a popular garden flower and a member of the Pink family. Recent hybridization has produced lavender and purple varieties which will prove to be cultivation favorites.
Just as interesting is Ohio’s state tree – the Buckeye. There are several varieties with panicles of white or red flowers. The largest Buckeye trees are found in uncut forests of the Appalachians and I have located several huge trees with a six foot girth.
Now we head to Oklahoma – our next “O” state – the home of Native Americans and a native wildflower – the Indian Blanket. Nice visit, Ohio!