Illinois designated the violet as its official state flower in 1908. Illinois was the first of the 4 eastern states to officially adopt the common violet as. The garden violet is undoubtedly one of the state's most recognizable native wildflowers. Fessler de Rochelle suggested to state officials that Illinois schoolchildren vote for a state tree and flower. In 1907, Illinois schoolchildren voted to select the violet as the state flower and the native oak as the state tree (other candidates for the state flower category were the wild rose and the goldenrod).
Illinois was the first of the four eastern states to officially adopt the common violet as a state flower (Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin). There are eight different species of blue-flowered violets in Illinois; the most common is the garden violet (Viola sororia).