In 1919, Texas became the first state to select a state tree, the pecan. All of the other states have since chosen state trees, and one state, New Jersey, has named a state tree and a state memorial tree.
Out of the thirty-five trees designated by the states, the white oak and the sugar maple tie for first place. Each was named the state tree for four states. Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, and Iowa named the white oak their state tree. Iowa, in fact, designated all species of the oak. New York, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin selected the sugar maple. Tying for second place in popularity are the southern pine, designated by Alabama, Arkansas, and North Carolina, and the dogwood, named by Missouri, Virginia, and New Jersey. New Jersey named the dogwood its state memorial tree.
Two states chose the American elm ( Massachusetts and North Dakota), the white pine ( Maine and Michigan), the cottonwood ( Kansas and Nebraska), the palmetto ( Florida and South Carolina), the blue spruce ( Colorado and Utah), and the tulip poplar ( Indiana and Tennessee).
Probably the most frequently cited reason for the selection of a particular state tree is the part that tree played in the early history of a state. The palmetto was used to build colonial forts off the coast of South Carolina. The live oak was used to construct homes by early Georgia settlers. In Tennessee, the tulip poplar was used to construct homesteads and barns. The white oak was chosen by Connecticut in remembrance of a famous