More about the Preakness and the Black-eyed Susan
Martin Garcia and Lookin At Lucky make their way to the winner's circle following their triumph in the 135th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course Saturday, May 15, 2010.
Photo credit: Baltimore Sun/Kim Hairston
The Black-eyed Susan was designated Maryland's state flower in 1918 by an act of Gov. Emerson C. Harrington.
It seems that an article in the National Georgraphic deplored the state's lack of an official flower, especially since the Black-eyed Susan could be had for the picking, so to speak. And so the politicians were moved to act.
State Sen. Harvey Bomberger made this tribute in nominating the flower:
"The hardiness of the plant, its colors, the quiet beauty and refinement of its bloom, its adaptability for personal adornment, inclined me to think that if the state was to have a flower it might adopt by legislative action what seem to properly to be the natural choice. "
The flower was declared the Preakness flower in 1940 and Colonel Edward R. Bradley's Bimelech in 1940 was the first winner to wear the floral blanket.
It is said the Susan's flower usually has 13 petals, which is taken to symbolize the 13 original colonies, of which Maryland was one.
The flower reproduces the state's black and yellow colors, which were the colors of the founding Calvert family.