Today in history

The Legislature on Jan. 29, 1903, officially designated the great rhododendron as the official flower of West Virginia. Gov. Albert B. White, a Republican, approved of the idea of a state flower – and public school students had forwarded their pick, the rhododendron, for consideration by lawmakers. (The “losers” on the students’ ballots: the apple blossom, wild rose, white clover, goldenrod, honeysuckle, white columbine, violet and daisy.) Youngsters might have been feeling protective of the rhododendron maximum because its numbers were threatened by the clear-cut logging happening at the time through much of West Virginia that left rhododendrons with no canopy for shade. Today, the flower grows in nearly every part of West Virginia, particularly in cool, shady spots.


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