The Orange Blossom, one of the most fragrant flowers in Florida, was adopted in 1909 as the official State Flower. In the springtime its white blossoms and strong perfume permeate throughout all of central Florida.
This yearlong Florida resident was selected as the official State Bird in 1927. Not only a Florida favorite, it's also the State Bird for Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas, and was the State Bird for South Carolina from 1939-1948. It's a superb mimic of other songbirds, even though its own song has a pleasant lilting quality. The mockingbird sings all night long, especially on bright moonlit nights in springtime.
The most widely distributed palm tree in Florida, the Sabal Palm was adopted as the Official State Tree in 1953. It grows in almost any soil and has many uses, including food, medicine and decorative landscaping.
Dominating the flag's design for the State of Florida is the red diagonal Cross of St. Andrew. The state seal in the center of the cross shows a Seminole woman scattering flowers in the land of sunshine, palm trees, rivers and lakes. Written below is the state motto, "In God We Trust."
Juan Ponce de Leon
Wandering Juan . . . he began his career in exploration as part of the team Christopher Columbus pulled together for his second voyage to the New World in 1493. Next he went to the West Indies with Nicholas de Ovando and later explored and settled in Puerto Rico in what is now San Juan. Twenty years after his first trip with Columbus, Ponce de Leon was ordered to find new lands, which tied in nicely with his own personal desire to find the "Fountain of Youth." In the spring of 1513 he landed in Florida although he did not realize then that he had reached North America. In 1514 he was named governor of Florida and told to establish a permanent colony. During an Indian attack, he was killed by a Seminole arrow. Ironically, the man who wanted a long life by seeking the Fountain of Youth, lived a perilous life, fraught with danger.