Our state flower used to be the goldenrod. I remember learning this in grade school in the late 1960s but it turns out that the state flower was changed to the camellia in 1959. I guess school textbooks were not updated that often back then. Why the change? Well, some garden society ladies thought that the goldenrod was undeserving as the state flower and many considered it a weed (it was initially chosen by school kids in 1927 as their favorite flower). So, the state flower was changed to the camellia in 1959, and since there are different varieties of camellias, Camellia Japonica was specifically selected as the state flower in 1999. I don't know why it took forty years to do this.
I don't resent this decision and I have nothing against goldenrod (in fact, I grow it in the garden) but I'm absolutely gaga over camellias. I got the camellia fever a few years ago and planted a lot of them. Most are still very small. I think camellias are the perfect flower and I marvel at their symmetry and beauty.
This is peak season for the camellias and almost all of ours are blooming. Here is a sampling:
And, I think this one is my favorite (at the moment at least)