While I was researching the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, I learned that it was the origin of the concept of the state flower.
At the Fair, each state was asked to choose an emblematic flower for a national garland. Remember, this was the floweriest Fair the world had ever seen.
After the Fair, states began adopting floral emblems. Some states were acting quickly, others taking their time. Some picking flowers that other states had already adopted. Others were insisting on something unique. Seldom were the selections made without some controversy.
May 1st has seen the adoption of State Flowers for two states: Illinois and Massachusetts.
On this day in 1908, Illinois adopted the Purple Violet as the State Flower.
On this day in 1918, Massachusetts adopted the Mayflower (Epigaea repens), also commonly known as trailing arbutus or ground laurel, like the flower or floral emblem of the Commonwealth.
And, here's a quick final thought about the trailing arbutus. It is often mentioned as a sweet harbinger of spring.
Longfellow referred to the arbute in his lines "To a Child," from 1846.
He tells how an Indian peasant made a discovery of silver when he fell and accidentally grabbed the trailing arbutus to break his fall:
In falling, clutched the frail arbute,
The fibres of whose shallow root,
Uplifted from the soil, betrayed
The silver veins beneath it laid,
 


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Purple Violets
Illinois State Flower: Purple Violets