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Catalog Data

Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm)
Stem: 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm)
Flower: 3 in. (7.6 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 Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla hirsutissima). A vibrant purple blossom sits atop a slender green stem with long, pointed sepals painted brown.
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.
SOUTH DAKOTA: The Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla hirsutissima) was designated the official state flower of South Dakota in 1903. It is also called the May Day Flower, Prairie Crocus, Wind Flower, Easter Flower, and Meadow Anemone. South Dakota grew to love this flower before it was even a state. The Pasque Flower was always the first in the area to show its blossoms in the spring to the European settlers, and it was the subject of songs and legends by the native tribes. Pasque Flowers brought color and beauty to the region, but not sustenance. It is a member of the buttercup family, and all parts of it are toxic. The Pasque Flower is a tallgrass prairie wildflower that ranges in color from deep violet to lavender to white. These perennials grow into single, small bell-shaped blossoms with feathery seed heads and golden stamens. The Pasque Flowers’ growing season only lasts two weeks, but it marks the beginning of spring in the state. Due to the cold climate of South Dakota, the Pasque Flower grows low to the ground, rarely exceeding 6 inches in height, and its leaves are densely covered with silky hairs that help insulate it. Pasque Flowers thrive in the cool, moist climates and grow wild throughout the state of South Dakota, as well as the northeastern United States up to Alaska.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
South 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