Delaware’s state flower is the peach blossom. You’d expect to see peaches more in conjunction with Georgia, but Delaware has a long-standing association with peaches as well. The state dessert is peach pie, so that probably gives you the idea that the peach is held in esteem in this little state.
Here’s why Delaware picked the peach. This warm-weather fruit was introduced to the state when it was still just a colony and the industry just grew and grew. In the 1800s, Delaware was actually the leading producer of peaches in the United States. It sent out six million juicy baskets of fruit in 1875 and peach-growing towns sprang up as the railroad pushed through the south.
Peach blossoms were passed into law as the state flower in 1985, commemorating a time when the state had 800,000 peach trees. However, Delaware’s state fruit is not the peach—instead, it’s the strawberry, beloved berry of a rather short summer.
Disease hit the peach trees and nearly destroyed the industry in the early twentieth century. Only three major peach orchards remain. You’re as likely to find peach roses as you are peach orchards these days. But that part of Delaware history is kept alive by the adoption of peach blossom as the state flower.
Delaware also has a state herb, the sweet goldenrod. It’s native to the state and grows profusely, so it’s quickly recognizable. And its state tree is the American holly, once one of Delaware’s most common forest trees and a symbol of Christmas decorations. It can reach up to 60 feet high in Delaware, making it an impressive and somewhat prickly sight.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief foray into the history of Delaware and its state symbols. The next time you’re driving through Delaware, think about its surprising past and of how beautiful the sight of all those peach trees must have been.