Orange blossom is only state flower used to make perfume

Yeasel’s Orange Blossom Perfume

Brought to the Americas by the Spaniards in the 15thcentury, oranges became an important part of Florida’s economy over the centuries. During his travels through northeast Florida in 1774, American botanist and explorer William Bartram told of groves of orange trees in full bloom and the air filled with the sweet fragrance of the delicate orange blossoms.

Chosen as Florida’s state flower on November 15, 1909, it is the only state flower used in the manufacture of perfume. Associated with good luck, it is often used in bridal bouquets. Beehives are set in orange groves during the blooming season to gather the honey produced and to help pollinate some varieties of citrus. Orange blossom water is also used in recipes.

One local man, Harry E. Yeasel, began producing and selling orange blossom perfume. He moved to St. Cloud, Florida, in 1944 and is listed in the 1949-1950 St. Cloud city directory as “Perfume Mgfr.” In April 1963, Yeasel furnished the scent for Florida’s float in the cherry blossom parade in Washington, D.C.

Written by Anza Bast

Sources:  floridamuseum.ufl.edu; Wikipedia; “Orlando Sentinel” April 1, 1963, July 31, 2004; 1949-1950 St. Cloud, FL city directory