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The Conception of The Ohio State Bird and Flower

The Conception of The Ohio State Bird and Flower

After Ohio’s statehood in 1803, it took over 100 years for the state to literally start seeing red. Many would reason this comment negative, but in Ohio’s case, their red was distinctive and honorable. In 1904, the cardinal came to be the state bird. Later in the century, in 1933, the scarlet carnation was appointed as the state flower.

Early pioneers christened the red bird in consideration of the catholic cardinals who are ordinarily garbed in red. The male cardinal has the most dominant color of red, while the female sports other down-to-earth colors of browns and muted reds. Cardinals were uncommon upon human influx into the area of Ohio. As more terrain was cleared over the state, the habitat became more cardinal friendly. The birds have adjusted to this transformation and can now be located in rural and urban surroundings. They are normally found in locales such as parks, forest edges, and backyards. A favored stopover is at neighborhood bird feeders, but they prefer to nest in compact vines and shrubs. They typically breed during spring or early summer and are extremely territorial during this period. Cardinals normally produce 2-5 eggs that are greenish white, buff white or grayish white and are mottled with gray or brown spots. The offspring have an incubation period of 11-13 days. The Northern Cardinal is a sizeable, long-tailed songbird with a stunted, dense bill and a noticeable crest. Cardinals consume primarily seeds and fruit, but will enhance their diets with insects while feeding nestlings.

The scarlet carnation is a European native that was presented by horticulturalist, Dr. Levy Lamborn. He lived in Alliance, Ohio and maintained that he was original cultivator of the first carnation in America. Scarlet carnations are perhaps one of the most prevalent cut flowers in the world. They are strongly fragrant and have color variations ranging from white to pink to purple. Scarlet carnation flowers are approximately 2-3 inches across and appear singly, in forked clusters, or branched. Lamborn imparted president elect, William McKinley, with a “Lamborn Red’ boutonniere at the beginning each debate. McKinley soon began designating the carnation as a good-luck trinket. When he became president, he fixed a bouquet of red carnations on his desk and offered one to each of his guests. In September of 1901, McKinley was slain by an assassin’s shot moments after removing a red carnation from his lapel to share with an admirer. The Ohio General Assembly approved a joint resolution specifying the scarlet carnation as the state flower on February 3, 1904. It was esteemed with the title of state flower in commemoration of President William McKinley. The Ohio Legislature also acclaimed the city of Alliance as the “Carnation City” and founded the Greater Alliance Carnation Festival to create a celebration filled with parades, food and fun.