West Virginia can claim to be the only State that is wholly filled with the Appalachian Mountains, hence why it is also nicknamed the Mountain State. Their State which is brimming with fascinating history, like separating from the state of Virginia, brings an interesting mixture culture and idea together while picking a State flower. West Virginia State Flower is the Rhododendron Maximum. This choice flower was voted on by not only those in State schools, but anyone who wanted to vote. It was the Governor who allowed everyone to vote, feeling as though the decision should be the whole States and not just a few. Like other States, West Virginia also was voting on a few other choices like, the apple blossom, the White Clover, Goldenrod, the Wild Rose, the Mountain Laurel, and other kinds of Rhododendron. They polled students and the public the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in November of the year 1902, but West Virginia made sure to give the citizens plenty of time to think over which flower would best represent their State. On January 29, 1903, the Rhododendron Maximum became the West Virginia State Flower.
Here are a few quick facts about Rhododendrons. This particular flower has five petals. The colors can be white, pink, and sometimes red. The flowers themselves are no wider than an inch. Usually each plant puts forth around ten to thirty flowers. Its peak period for blooming is during the middle of July. Rhododendrons are actually a large shrub that boarders on being called a small tree. The West Virginia State Flower also produces a fruit. This fruit is a brownish red color that grows to be about half an inch in length. Like many fruits, inside holds many tiny seeds. The fruit usually matures during the fall. The bark on this plant happens to be very scale like. One interesting fact is that the hard wood of Rhododendron’s can be used for many different things. Sometimes as fuel, but most often things like handles for tools. Another interesting tidbit about the West Virginia State Flower is that their leaves are very poisonous, that is to deer and cattle. And just so you aren’t confused, Rhododendron’s can also be referred to as Azaleas or the Great Laurel. Rhododendrons are also a part of the heath family and are natives to the east part of the United States as well as northern Alabama.
While West Virginia is a great wealth of history, there isn’t much pomp and ceremony to the ratifying of its State Flower. This doesn’t mean that the West Virginia State Flower isn’t any better or worse than another state, it’s just they way they did things. As for the Rhododendrons, they are beautiful plants and flowers. And hey, it happens to be quite the popular plant to use for landscaping yards and other business. Their sweet scented flowers and easy care still yields soft and delicate looking flowers of pale pink and white seem to reflect exactly the people and the state of West Virginia.