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New Hampshire Symbols, State Bird & State Flower
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Adopted on April 25, 1957.
The purple finch is hereby designated as the official state bird of New Hampshire. The pert little purple finch toppled the one-time sturdy New Hampshire hen to become the Granite State's official bird, by vote of the 1957 Legislature.
Rep. Robert S. Monahan of Hanover, then Dartmouth College forester, sponsored a purple finch bill, which was filed in the House of Representatives on February 12, Lincoln's birthday anniversary, with impressive backing. He later testified that it bore the support of the Audubon Society of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs, and the State Federation of Women's Clubs.
The purple finch proposal ran into quick opposition. Rep. Doris M. Spollett of Hampstead, veteran legislator and mail carrier and breeder of prize goats, once again sponsored the New Hampshire hen for a state bird. She had lost an initial bid for this special breed of hen, to become the official bird, eight years earlier, while serving in the Senate.
Monahan won speedy approval for the purple finch, as his bill came up for public hearing before the House Committee on Recreation, Resources and Development on March 27, as he urged quick enactment "before some other state beats us to it."
The purple finch readily mustered broad legislative support, because of the respected influence of its sponsoring organizations, and Miss Spollett's hen bill became pigeon-hold. The House Committee on Recreation, Resources and Development held a March 27 public hearing on Monahan's bill, and promptly recommended its passage. The House then passed the purple finch, and the Senate speedily concurred. Governor Lane Dwinell of Lebanon signed the purple finch into law on April 25.
New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) 3:10
Anderson, Leon. History. Manual for the General Court 1981.
- Length: 5.5 inches
- Large, conical bill
- Short, forked tail
- Distinctive call note often given in flight
- Purplish-red head, breast, back and rump
- Streaked back
- White undertail coverts
- Brown wings and tail
- Immature male resembles female
- Brown crown and cheek patch contrasting with pale supercilium and malar streak
- Heavily streaked underparts
- Brown upperparts
||Animalia -- animals
||Chordata -- chordates
||Vertebrata -- vertebrates
||Aves -- birds
||Passeriformes -- perching birds
||Fringillidae -- buntings, finches, grosbeaks, old world finches, sparrows
||Carpodacus Kaup, 1829 -- purple finches
||Carpodacus purpureus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) -- Pinzón purpúreo, purple finch
Flower by: Santalady
Adopted in 1919.
The purple lilac, Syringa vulgaris, is the state flower of New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Revised Statute Annotated (RSA) 3:5
New Hampshire historian Leon Anderson writes in To This Day that the purple lilac was first imported from England and planted at the Portsmouth home of Governor Benning Wentworth in 1750. It was adopted as our state's flower in 1919. That year bills and amendments were introduced promoting the apple blossom, purple aster, wood lily, Mayflower, goldenrod, wild pasture rose, evening primrose and buttercup as the state flower. A long and lively debate followed regarding the relative merits of each flower. The purple lilac was ultimately chosen, according to Anderson in New Hampshire's Flower -- Tree -- Bird because it "is symbolic of that hardy character of the men and women of the Granite State."
Anderson, Leon. Flower -- Tree -- Bird
State Wildflower. The pink lady's slipper, Cypripedium aca
Lilac is a common flowering shrub that grows best in a sunny location. The plant grows in shade, but flowering is poor and powdery mildew is likely to be severe. Common lilac grows 20 feet tall and spreads 15 feet. The growth rate is rapid and the plant produces many suckers. The flowers are in shades of purple, white or pink. Some colors listed in catalogs refer to the unopened flower buds. Flower bud color may be different from the flower color. There are few actual color variations.
Leaf: Opposite, simple, broadly ovate, 2 to 4 inches long, 1 1/2 to 3 inches, heart shaped, entire, dark green to bluish-green above, lighter below.
Flower: Light purple, pink or even white (cultivar dependent), fragrant, flowers in terminal clusters, 4 to 7 inches long, appearing in May.
Fruit: Dry, brown, capsules, 1/2 inch long.
Twig: Stout, angled (almost 4 sided) or ridged, lustrous brown, glabrous, numerous raised lenticels, leaf scars raised, crescent-shaped, buds large, green but turning purple in the winter.
Bark: Gray to gray-brown, smooth but becoming finely shreddy when large.
Form: A multi-stemmed, suckering, tall shrub reaching up to 15 feet in height.
||Plantae -- Plants
||Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
||Spermatophyta – Seed plants
||Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
||Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
||Oleaceae – Olive family
||Syringa L. – lilac
||Syringa vulgaris L. – common lilac
Flower by: Santalady
Pink Lady Slipper
Adopted in 1991
The pink lady's slipper, Cypripedium acaule, is hereby designated as the official state wildflower of New Hampshire.
In 1991, the Pink Lady's Slipper became the state's wildflower. The plant is native to New Hampshire and grows in the moist wooded areas of the state.
New Hampshire Revised Statute Annotated (RSA) 3:17
Anderson, Leon. Flower -- Tree -- Bird
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