Maine State Flower (Floral Emblem)

White Pine Cone & Tassel

Maine Flower - White Pine Cone & Tassel

(Pinus strobus, linnaeus)

Adopted on February 1, 1895.

Maine designated the white pine cone and tassel, (Pinus strobus, linnaeus,) as its state flower. For the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, States were asked to choose floral emblems. Three candidates were chosen. Two, the goldenrod and apple blossom, were genuine flowers. The third was the pine cone and tassel. The pine cone won 10,000 of 17,000 votes. The white pine cone and tassel was adopted as Maine's state flower on February 1, 1895.

Maine State Flower: White Pine Cone & Tassel

Maine Flower - White Pine Cone & Tassel

Botanically, these are not considered flowers since gymnosperms do not have true flowers. The reproductive structures of pines are known as strobili. You could accurately state the Maine is the only state to have an official state strobilae.

The White pine is considered to be the largest conifer in the northeastern United States. Leaves (needles) are soft, flexible and bluish-green to silver green in color and are regularly arranged in bundles of five. Needles are 2 1/2-5 inches long and are usually shed at the end of the second growing season. Flowers (strobili) occur on the tree. Cones are 4-8 inches in length, usually slightly curved. They take 2 years to mature and open to discharge the seed shortly after ripening in late August through September of the second season. Cone scales are thin and never have prickles. Each scale usually bears two winged seeds as do all native pines. Cones also have a fragrant gummy resin.

More White Pine Tree Facts

  • Bark darkening and thickening as tree ages, smooth and gray on young growth, becoming gray-brown, deeply furrowed with broad ridges of irregularly rectangular, purple-tinged scaly plates.
  • Branches whorled, few and spreading, with slightly upturned tips. In closed stands, trunks are free of branches over 2/3 of their length.
  • Twigs slender, flexible, pale red-brown, with rusty hairs when young; aging gray and smooth.
  • Needles P. strobus has slender needles in clusters of 5 that grow up to 12 cm long. The outer surface of the needles is gray-green, and the inner surface is gray-white. Evergreen.
  • Buds heavily resinous and sticky, aromatic.
  • Cones slender and thornless, 3"-10" long and tapering; each scale usually bears two winged seeds as do all native pines.
  • Roots widespreading and moderately deep, without a distinct taproot
  • Ages exceeding 400 years are possible; commonly reaches 200 years of age and may exceed 450.
  • Height of mature trees in nature 80'-110'; largest eastern conifer.
  • Spread: 20'-40'

The Maine Revised Statutes

The law designating the pine cone and tassel as the official Maine state floral emblem is found in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 9, Subchapter 1, Section 211.


§211. State flower

The floral emblem for the State, in the national garland of flowers, shall be the pine cone and tassel.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: White Pine

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
    Division: Coniferophyta - Conifers
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae - Pine family
Genus: Pinus L. - pine
Species: Pinus strobus L. - eastern white pine

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