Friday, March 23, 2012

The rhodie hits the road

Thanks to bipartisan support in the Legislature, the Washington state flower – the coast rhododendron – should soon be strutting its stuff from Neah Bay to Anatone, from Metaline Falls to Ilwaco.  Substitute House Bill 2299 adds a state flower license plate (as well as a 4-H license plate) to the authorized lineup of special plates, effective Jan 1. Proceeds from the $40 fee for the plate will benefit the Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens on Whidbey Island and similar rhodie-centric organizations.

The coast rhododendron (Rhodeodendron macrophyllum) was chosen as the state flower by the women of Washington in a statewide election in 1892 – before women won the right to vote in real elections – for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It beat out the clover with 53 percent of the 15,000 ballots cast. It took another 57 years for the Legislature to designate the rhodie officially.

To read more about Washington’s state flower, click here.

To read this post in Spanish, click here.