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The state flower of North Dakota is the wild prairie rose. Designated as the official state symbol in 1907, the wild prairie rose grows throughout North America. According to fossil evidence, it is estimated to be more than 35 million years old. North Dakota shares its state flower with Iowa, though each state differs in its specification of the species.
In 1889, the University of North Dakota’s graduating class chose the colors pink and green as the official colors of the school. They felt that the colors of the wild prairie rose were symbolic of North Dakota’s green prairies and representative of the school’s rosy prospects. The flower gained support from the North Dakota Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1898, and it was voted a favorite for the state flower of North Dakota by school children in the state. As a result of this support, the wild prairie rose was adopted as the official state flower of North Dakota on 7 March 1907 by way of a senate sponsored bill that was approved by the Legislative Assembly of North Dakota.
Native to a large portion of central North America, the wild prairie rose can be found growing along roadsides, in meadows, and in pastures throughout the countryside. It is abundant in the area between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains, as far north as the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and as far south as Mexico. The state flower of North Dakota typically blooms from late spring and early summer to late August. Wild prairie roses feature five petals in various shades of pink with a yellow stamen at the center.
The rose hips and petals of the wild prairie rose are edible and are used widely in teas, herbal supplements, and medications. The fruit of the wild prairie rose, referred to as rose hips, form at the base of the flower. Rose hips are extremely rich in vitamins C, E, and K. They also contain high amounts of beta-carotine, bio-flavonoids, and pectin. The antioxidant effect of these elements helps to enhance the immune system and protect against disease. Rose hips are also known to improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol, aid in digestion, and help with weight management.
Wild prairie roses grow profusely throughout the state of North Dakota. The flower is often referred to by various names throughout the United States, such as meadow rose, smooth rose, and rosa blanda. It is considered a weed by the USDA despite its rich history and medicinal properties.