Until 1959, the goldenrod was the state flower of Alabama. It had been officially named by the Alabama Legislature in 1927. School children had selected it because, according to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, "...it blooms everywhere and brightens the fall months with its liberal plume-like flowers."
The story does not end there, however. In June of 1999, the Alabama Legislature specifically named Camellia japonica as the official State flower. This particular cultivar is very widespread throughout the entire southeast United States, not just Alabama, as an ornamental shrub. There are apparently over 3,000 separate varieties, hybrids and cultivars of Camellia japonica, according to http://www.floridata.com/.