What do Oklahoma, Missouri and Kentucky have in common? In addition to their state arbor days being this week (Friday, April 1 for Missouri and Kentucky, and all week long for Oklahoma), they also share a common trait among their state trees. Kentucky’s tulip poplar, Oklahoma’s eastern redbud and Missouri’s flowering dogwood are all flowering state trees.
Kentucky – The Tulip Poplar
After decades of debate, it wasn’t until 1994 that Kentucky finally settled upon the tulip poplar, or Liriodendron tulipifera, as its official state tree. The tulip poplar gets its name from its tulip-like flowers; however, it is neither related to the tulip nor the poplar. Instead, the tree is a member of the magnolia family and grows rapidly to an average of 100 feet.
The flowering dogwood, or Cornus florida L., was designated the official state tree of Missouri in 1955. The flowers bloom in a variety of colors, including white, pink or yellow, depending on the tree. The tree takes on a deeper shade starting in autumn due to its red berries and the deep red hue of its leaves just before winter sets in.
Oklahoma – The Eastern Redbud
Oklahoma was the first of the three states to declare a flowering tree as its state tree in 1937. The eastern redbud, or Cerciscanadensis, is very much like its home state in being ahead of the crowd. The small deciduous tree is known not only for its pink blossoms, but also for being an early bloomer – bursting with color before most trees have even sprouted leaves.
For more info on specific trees, check out our tree match tool.
[Photo credit: netstate.com, smcog.missouristate.edu, keepbrazosbeautiful.org]