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Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Stem: 8 in. (20.3 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 Camellia (Camellia japonica). The large blossom is formed by three layers of broad, red petals surrounding the white and yellow curly stigma. Its large, green receptacle connects it to the stem with three oblong 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.
ALABAMA: The Camellia (Camellia japonica) was designated the official state flower or Alabama on August 26, 1959. It was chosen to replace the original state flower, Goldenrod, selected in 1927, because the ladies of Butler County considered it a weed. In 1999, the states legislature further amended state flower legislation to designate which Camellia, the Camellia japonica. The Alabama state flower grows on an evergreen, flowering shrub that is prized for its form and its smooth, polished leaves. From November to March, the Camellia flowers bloom in large, prominent displays in shades of white, pink, red, and even yellow. These flowers are popular for their subtle, sweet fragrance. Camellias can be seen growing throughout the Alabama’s parks, gardens, and roadsides. As they are easy to grow, Camellias are cultivated throughout the southern United States, but the yearly crop in Alabama provides two-thirds of these flowers for the eastern United States. Alabama showed its love for the Camellia by featuring it on their state quarter. Alabama also recognizes an official state wildflower. They designated the Oak-Leaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia Bartr.) as the official state wildflower in 1999.
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Alabama  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  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