Toledo City Council has boldly gone where no council has gone before. It has designated the wild lupine, or lupinus perennis if you want to be formal about it, as the city's official flower.
That's fine, and we've got no problem with council's 9-2 vote sanctifying this beautiful product of God's green acres. On the other hand, the two councilmen who voted no, Edna Brown and Louis Escobar, make a good point when they note that lupine does not exactly abound in Toledo, although Toledoans who appreciate the flower either have it in their own gardens or can point you to a place where you can see it.
There was a time when lupine blanketed much of the northwest Ohio landscape with soft hues of purple; nowadays it is considered rare. If that's true, the prospect that economic development or commercial enterprise might one day be blocked by the flower's presence, a concern of the dissenting council members, seems remote.
These periodic exercises in naming an official this or official that tend to generate indifference among most people, and sometimes, even good-natured amusement.
We remember a faxed cartoon that made the rounds a few years ago which parodied the State of Ohio's list of official things.
The state motto, it said: “Single Lane, Next 45 Miles.”
The state flag: A stop sign held up by a construction worker in a “Go Bucks” hardhat.
The state statue: The same construction worker.
The state flower: An orange highway barrel, presumably because they grow anywhere.
The state mineral: Asphalt.
The state animal: A sawhorse with a flashing yellow light.
The state joke: a roadside sign reading “Caution, Men Working.”
Even the folks at ODOT had a good laugh over those, we hope. But viewed in that context, designating the lupine as the official flower of the city of Toledo seems pleasantly benign.