The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 March 2006

Best buds

I'm just starting to see the faintest hint of blossoming on my twin redbud trees out front — once they get going, they look something like this — which means that it's a perfect time to point to this BlogOklahoma story on the official state tree.

In the 1930s, Mrs. Mamie Lee Browne helped organize a campaign for adopting the "eastern" redbud as Oklahoma's state flower. Later this was changed to a campaign for a state tree, when they learned Oklahoma already had a state flower, the mistletoe.

In March 1937, Governor E. W. Marland was about to sign the bill making the redbud the state tree, when a telegram arrived starting a controversy over the redbud. Mrs. Edward Campbell Lawson of Tulsa, president of the National Federation of Women's Clubs, sent the telegram claiming the redbud was the Judas Tree that Judas Iscariot used to hang himself after he betrayed Christ.

The controversy appeared in Newspaper stories and editorials all over the United States and other countries.

The dispute was resolved by an Oklahoma City resident who was a native of Jerusalem. He affirmed that there was no connection between Oklahoma's Redbud tree and Israel's "Judas tree."

With the controversy resolved, on March 30, 1937, Governor Marland signed the bill into law, making the redbud Oklahoma's state tree.

For the purists and/or botanists: our redbud is Cercis reniformis; the Judas tree is Cercis siliquastrum.

Posted at 10:17 AM to Soonerland

Contrarian that I am sometimes I cant wait to run out an buy one of the Cercis siliquastrum's :) I wonder if any of the old blue nose's would give a damn anymore?

Posted by: ron at 8:24 AM on 13 March 2006

Mistletoe is the state flower? I didn't know that and I'm quite disappointed. Of all the nice wildflowers we have and someone decided it should be mistletoe?

Posted by: Lynn S at 1:33 PM on 13 March 2006

Well, it's weirder than that. Mistletoe's current status is "floral emblem"; our state flower, as it were, is a hybrid tea rose called the "Oklahoma rose."

Exposition here.

Posted by: CGHill at 1:57 PM on 13 March 2006