West Virginia State Flower and State Bird
Cardinal ~ Richmondena cardinalis
To watch the habits of a Cardinal family is fascinating. Father sits on an exposed perch for all to admire and pours out his series of whistles while Mother and her young remain hidden in the foliage, occasionally uttering a sharp call note. Once primarily a southern bird, in recent years the Cardinal has steadily extended its range northward. Now, more and more people find their winter days enlivened by the compelling beauty of this prince.
Rhododendron Maximum ~ Rhododendron maximum
The Rhododendron of West Virginia sometimes grows to be a thirty-five foot tree. This native species is perhaps the hardiest of all the evergreen Rhododendrons, and certainly the tallest and most treelike of the hardy northern types. Usually rose-colored, the flowers are about one-and-a-half inches across and slightly smaller than the Pacific Coast variety. Its flowers appear after the leaves of the current year’s growth are well expended. This new foliage hides the flower clusters to a considerable degree. This Rosebay Rhododendron, as it is also called, requires semi-shade to do well, and its frequently grown in gardens in the northern United States.
From The Wildflowers of the 50 States U.S. stamps issued July 24, 1992: