December 14, 1819: Alabama Picks the Camellia as the State Flower

The Beautiful Camellia

December 14, 1819

On this day, Alabama became the 22nd state to join the Union.

Forty years later, the Camellia ("kah-MEE-lee-ah") became the official state flower of Alabama. Before that, Alabama's state flower was the Goldenrod.

Camellia is an evergreen plant in the tea family. The flower size of Camellias can range from 1 centimeter to dinner plate size.

Camellias have made their way into stories in books and on the movie screen, symbolizing love, affection, and admiration.

In Harper Lee's 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (which is set in Alabama), Mrs. Dubose’s Camellia is the ‘Snow on the Mountain’ Camellia, also known as the ‘White Doves’ or the ‘Mine-No-Yuku’ Camellia.

Shallow-rooted, Camellias need well-drained, acid soil.

The older the Camillia, the more water-wise and drought-tolerant the plant.

Like peonies, Camellias are long-lived plants in terms of age, and they can easily live to be 100 years old or older.

Wild camellias can grow to be more than 50 feet tall in mature forests.

Two small villages in Tuscany host the Ancient Camellias festival. This part of Tuscany offers a perfect habitat for Camellias with cool, shady woodlands and flowing waters.

Finally, the Camellia was the favorite flower of the French fashion designer and businesswoman Coco Chanel.

Coco’s favorite Camellia was the Alba Plena. Although she adored the bloom, she loved that the flower had no scent because it never competed with her trademark perfume - Channel No. 5.

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