Rhododendron: State Flower of West Virginia
The West Virginia School Journal, May 1902, p. 31

A State Flower

Most of the States in the Union have adopted a flower or a tree as an emblem characteristic of their flora, and a cut of which is frequently seen on flags, seals, official papers and on many private letter heads and designs. Although the question has been discussed several times in West Virginia, no action, formal or otherwise, has ever been taken in the matter. In several of the States the selection of a flower has been left to the pupils in the public schools and afterwards their choice has been ratified by the Legislature. With the object of securing some definite action on the question, I suggest that on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in the month of November, 1902, not only pupils in our schools, but all who wish to indicate their preference for a "State Flower" shall vote for a first and second choice and have this vote recorded by the teachers in the school district. Teachers will please to keep an accurate record of the vote and forward the same to this office before the 10th of December following.

This suggestion is made thus early in the year, so our citizens may have the entire season for observation and to consider the selection of a flower, and then be able to decide intelligently. Among the flowers that have at various times been suggested as our State emblem are the Goldenrod, the Mountain Laurel and other species of Rhododendron, the Apple Blossom, the Wild Rose and the White Clover.

For a "State Tree" the Maple and the Poplar have been recommended.

The "State Flowers" already adopted are as follows:
Alabama, Nebraska, and Texas, the Goldenrod; California, the Poppy; Mississippi and Louisiana, the Magnolia; Colorado, the Columbine; Idaho, the Syringa; Iowa and North Dakota, the Wild Rose; Michigan and Arkansas, the Apple Blossom; Utah, the Sego Lily; Oregon, the Oregon Grape; Rhode Island, the Violet; Vermont, the Red Clover; Washington, the Rhododendron; Montana, the Bitter Root; Maine, the Pine Cone; Minnesota, the Lady's Slipper; Delaware, the Peach Blossom; Oklahoma, the Mistletoe; New York, the Rose, and the State Tree, the Maple; New Jersey, State Tree, the Sugar Maple; Kansas, the Sunflower. Some of the States have several flowers under consideration, but not decided upon. Illinois, for example, has had the Rose, Violet and Goldenrod voted for in the order as here given; South Carolina has partially decided upon the Palmetto, but several other flowers of popular choice have prevented the decision; Florida is undecided, but will probably select the Orange; Kentucky is generally understood as favoring the adoption of the Blue Grass, and New Mexico, the Cactus.

For the above information we are indebted to that excellent publication, Home and Flowers, issued at Springfield, Ohio.

We trust that all sections of the State will take part in this choosing of an emblem, and that utility, beauty and sentiment will all be considered in the choice made.

Very respectfully,
Thos. C. Miller.

State Symbols

West Virginia Archives and History