Apple Blossom Wins ‘Battle Of Blooms’
After what has been referred to as the “battle of the blooms,” the apple blossom was adopted as the State floral emblem of Arkansas by an act of the Legislature on July 30, 1901. The legislation read, in part,
“Whereas, Most of the states have by resolution declared what should be their state floral emblem; and, “Whereas, Arkansas has not by resolution of the General Assembly declared what is her floral emblem; be it therefore “Resolved by both Houses of the General Assembly, That the Apple Blossom’ be declared the state floral emblem of Arkansas.”
The “battle of the blooms” was between the Floral Emblem Society and the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs. The Floral Emblem Society supported the apple blossom and the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs supported the passion flower. Mrs. Ed Barton of Searcy, local president of the Floral Emblem Society, is singled out for an extraordinary effort credited with winning the State floral emblem honor for the apple blossom.
Barton wrote personal letters to 500 prominent citizens including every state legislator. With these letters, she included a promotional pamphlet extolling the virtues of the apple blossom and referring to the passion flower as “a pretty but rank and disagreeable weed, which isn’t a native of Arkansas at all but will grow anywhere the farmer’s hoe will let it.”
On the day that the legislature was to vote, Barton appeared at the Capitol in a red dress and a crisp red Arkansas apple for each legislator. She also handed them a note that read, “These are the results of our beautiful apple blossoms, but what is the results of a passion flower? A dried shriveled pod!”
“These are the results of our beautiful apple blossoms, but what is the results of a passion flower? A dried shriveled pod!”
Mrs. Ed Barton Floral Emblem Society president
The apple blossom was adopted as the state floral emblem of Arkansas in 1901.