A state chooses its flower as a symbolic representation of itself. The state of Missouri has chosen the hawthorn for the Missouri state flower. The flower that Missouri has chosen to represent itself is a type of shrub or tree that is a member of the rose family. The tree has many uses besides just being pretty. The tree produces flowers and fruits and has thorns. The fruits go by many names depending on the area in which they are used. In the United States the fruits are known as mayhaws and are used in jams and jellies. These are not common jams and are considered a delicacy. Even the leaves of this plant are edible and can be used in salads if they are picked when they are still tender.
Continuing on with its many uses, the hawthorn has been noted for its medicinal uses. The tree has been used to treat chronic heart failure. With such a useful and versatile state flower, Missouri has hoped to portray a message of hope, beauty, and usefulness. The blossoming of the hawthorn always accompanies the spring, and with the spring comes the renewal of hope and life to the country. While engaging in a message of hope, the hawthorn always protects itself, producing thorns that are long and painful enough to keep a hiker from wanting to use the tree as a walking stick. Indeed some folklore states that it is bad luck to uproot a hawthorn tree. By choosing the hawthorn as the Missouri state flower, the state has committed to a policy of versatility. The hawthorn tree is versatile enough to have other fruit trees grafted on, many at the same time. You can have a tree that produces mayblossoms in the spring, followed by pear fruit in the summertime. The tree is very good as a rootstock in the practice of grafting. Allowing for that characteristic of the tree, the Missouri state flower is one which displays a willingness for new things and a show of strength when new things are introduced. The hawthorn has a certain hardiness that made the wood valuable for tool handles in North America.
The tree produces beautiful blossoms when blooming that are commonly related to the month of May. The hawthorn is also often known as the may or mayblossom. These plants have come to indicate the coming of spring, and in Europe are associated with the celebration of May Day festivals even though the plant is rarely blooming until the second week of May. Along with the known uses for food and medicine, the plant is associated with many superstitions, allowing for the Missouri state flower to represent different beliefs at the same time that it is recognized for its hard, scientific values. Because the plant is associated with spring and the return of life, the plant symbolizes hope. The significance of the hopefulness of this plant has caused it to be carried in many wedding ceremonies. Many cultures and religions have ascribed significance to the tree, once again displaying the diversity that the Missouri state flower represents. Many Christians associate the tree with the crown of thorns on Jesus head. At the same time, the hawthorn was typically used for runes in Celtic lore.