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Colorado:

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The Centennial State

Geobopological Survey

What's so funny about our highest NATIONAL PARK???

 

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State Flower
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Rocky Mountain Columbine (Aquilegia caerulea)

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Columbine.jpg (6003 bytes)
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Dave Dahms, reprinted
with permission from
Rocky Mountain Wildlife

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   In 1820, Edwin James led the first party to climb Pikes Peak, Colorado’s most famous mountain. A few days earlier, on July 10, he had discovered what would later become Colorado’s state flower.

   The Colorado wilderness was much less wilder by 1891. April 17 of that year was Arbor Day, a day normally set aside for honoring trees. But on this Arbor Day, Colorado students voted for a state flower.

   On the next Arbor Day, April 17, 1891, the ballots were counted. Out of 22,316 votes, Rocky Mountain columbine received 14,472. Second place went to the cactus, with 1,027 votes. Second place went to the cactus, with 1,027 votes.

   In January of 1899, members of a women’s club in Cripple Creek discovered that the columbine had never been legally adopted. The legislature promptly took steps to make it legal. It was adopted on April 4, 1899.

   In 1925, the government made it the duty of all citizens to protect this rare species from needless destruction or waste. It is also illegal to dig or uproot the flower on public lands or to collect more than twenty-five of buds, blossoms, and stems in one day. Nor can columbines be picked on private land without permission from the land owner.

   In 1964, there was an attempt to replace the columbine with the carnation. This was probably because Colorado had become known as the carnation capital of the nation.

   Another women’s organization, the Daughters of Colorado, rallied behind the columbine. Some people asked, “What about the state song, ‘Where the Columbine Grows’?”

   The columbine easily retained its title as the best loved of Colorado’s flowers. Indeed, it is among the most honored of all state flowers. Colorado’s official song is “Where the Columbine Grows.” The colors blue and white on the state flag are sometimes seen as the columbine’s colors. Some people even see the color purple on the state insect as a reminder of the columbine.

 

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