The idea of state flowers first occurred in 1893 at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where women's groups had decorated their state exhibits with representative flowers. During the fair, a women's congress proposed the selection of a national garland of flowers, each flower to be chosen by the people of a state and adopted by its legislature.
Bird lovers soon suggested the adoption of state birds as well. In many states, plant growers, Audubon societies, nature and garden clubs, and legislators campaigned for favorite flowers and birds.
Flowers and birds are depicted together on the commemorative stamp set issued April 14, 1982, representing all 50 states.
National Postal Museum Library sources consulted:
Stamp Design Files, Scott 1992 Specialized Catalogue of US Stamps, State Birds and Flowers A1338-A1387.
State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols, Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, E155.S44 1987X.