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Catalog Data

Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 16 1/2 in. (41.9 cm)
Stem: 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Flower: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
Artificial flowers and trees
United States
Artist, Helen Hornberger, revived the techniques of French tole to create naturalistic representations of the state flowers. The artist used thin copper sheets as her base, and painted them with oil paint in the natural colors of the blossoms and leaves of the Wild Rose. A light pink blossom and bud are both surrounded by five elongated, green sepals branching from a long green stem with brown thorns and green, serrated leaves.
Label Text:
The Congress of Representative Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago proposed that each U.S. state and territory select a flower to represent their state in the “National Garland of Flowers.” This resulted in the National Floral Emblem Society. Each state has adopted to represent the state and its people based on their importance to the state’s history, economy, folklore, or native varieties. Tole artist Helen Hornberger created each artificial flower representing each state to create for a bouquet displaying America’s floral diversity.
IOWA: The Wild Rose (Rosa pratincola) was designated the official state flower of Iowa in 1897. Instead of choosing a specific species of the Wild Rose as the state flower, lawmakers agreed that any Wild Rose within the state’s borders should be included as Iowa’s state flower. Despite this, the Wild Prairie Rose is cited most frequently as the official flower of Iowa. Wild Roses, in varying shades of pink with yellow stamens, are found throughout the state. Despite the dry, flat landscape of Iowa, this flower blooms every year from June to late summer. Its beauty and resilience inspired the early European settlers of the region, and earned the Wild Rose of Iowa a place in their hearts. In 1896, it was etched on the silver service presented to the crew of the U.S.S. Iowa, because the hardy flower symbolized the state so well.
NORTH DAKOTA: The Wild Prairie Rose (Rosa arkansana or Rosa blanda) was designated the official state flower of North Dakota in 1907. Before its formal adoption, the University of North Dakota’s first graduating class chose the colors of the Wild Prairie Rose as the state school’s official color in 1889. This pink perennial is native to a large portion of central North America, and is found in abundance along the roadsides, pastures, foothills, and meadows of North Dakota. It is often picked by passers-by because of its lovely scent and is often grown as an ornamental plant. However, the Wild Rose can sometimes be invasive and it is considered a weed by the USDA.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Iowa  Search this
North Dakota  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Helen Hornberger.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens