The concept of State Trees originated in 1893 as states were a relatively fresh idea. While at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago a women's congress suggested a "National Garland of Flowers" made of flowers representing each state.
Inhabitants from each state were to chose their state flower that reflected that part of the US of which they came from. The choices were then adopted by state legislators.
The idea was a success and soon after other natural treasures were adopted into each state as representations, state flowers, state fish, state birds, and more.1
Except for Hawaii, all the designated state trees are native to their land.
- State Symbols https://statesymbolsusa.org/