Do you know what your official state flower is, and if it's a native plant or not?
Courtesy of Karan Davis Cutler
Our field, until a farmer cut it recently, was dotted with red clover, Trifolium pratense. In addition to being a good insectary crop and green manure, red clover is used for forage and silage.
A rich source of isoflavones, chemicals that act like estrogens, it has medicinal uses as well.
Of the 50 state flowers, red clover is surely the most modest, a perfect match for Vermonters, who are famous for monosyllabic speech. What other state would inspire a book titled "Yup…Nope and Other Vermont Dialogues"?
Vermonters are protective of their status — anyone not born here is referred to as a “flatlander” — so it’s surprising that our state flower isn’t a native, which is usually defined as a plant growing in North America before colonization. Red clover is indigenous to Europe, Asia, and Africa, not New England.