A county flower is a flowering plant chosen to symbolise a county. They exist primarily in the United Kingdom, but some counties in other countries also have them.
One or two county flowers have a long history in England - the Red rose of Lancashire dates from the Middle Ages, for instance. However, the county flower concept was only extended to cover the whole United Kingdom in 2002, as a promotional tool by a charity. In that year, the plant conservation charity Plantlife ran a competition to choose county flowers for all counties, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
Plantlife's scheme is loosely based on Britain's historic counties, and so some current local government areas are not represented by a flower, and some of the counties included no longer exist as administrative areas. Flowers were also chosen for thirteen major cities: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham and Sheffield. The Isles of Scilly was also treated as a county (distinct from Cornwall) for the purpose of the scheme. The Isle of Man was included, but not the Channel Islands.
A total of 94 flowers was chosen in the competition. 85 of the 109 counties have a unique county flower, but several species were chosen by more than one county. Foxglove or Digitalis purpurea was chosen for four counties - Argyll, Birmingham, Leicestershire and Monmouthshire - more than any other species. The following species were chosen for three counties each:
• Bog Rosemary Andromeda polifolia (Cardiganshire and Tyrone)
• Cowslip Primula veris (Northamptonshire, Surrey and Worcestershire)
• Harebell Campanula rotundifolia (Antrim, Dumfriesshire and Yorkshire)
• Thrift Armeria maritima (Buteshire, Pembrokeshire and the Isles of Scilly)
And the following species were chosen for two counties:
• Grass-of-parnassus Parnassia palustris (Cumberland and Sutherland)
• Pasqueflower Pulsatilla vulgaris (Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire)
• Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas (Essex and Norfolk)
In addition, Sticky Catchfly Lychnis viscaria was chosen for both Edinburgh and Midlothian, the county containing Edinburgh.
For most counties, native species were chosen, but for a small number of counties, non-natives were chosen, mainly archaeophytes. For example Hampshire has a Tudor Rose as it's county flower even though it is not a native species.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floral_emblem
See Also : Florist Sydney, Florist Melbourne, Flowers Brisbane