Grass: By Matt Lavin, CC BY 2.0 — www.flickr.com/photos/plant_diversity/48666472461/
Milkweed: By Laura Hubers / USFWS, CC BY 2.0 — www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/9569973253/
Note: I heavily altered both images.
Welcome to the Prairie State!
Born and raised in West Dakota, I love the prairie. I’ll pass on Illinois’ slogan, “Land of Lincoln.” Did you know Abraham Lincoln was a racist lawyer who presided over the biggest mass execution in American history? (Continued below)
Quick Indexflag, seal, motto, & song | flowers | trees | grass & corn | fruit | bird | mammal | reptile & amphibian | fish | insect | mineral | fossil | soil | cultural symbols
|Nicknames & Slogans|
|Nicknames||The Prairie State, Corn State|
|Slogan||The Land of Lincoln||1955|
|Symbols of State|
|Motto||State Sovereignty, National Union||>|
|Tree||white oak (Quercus alba)||1973||>|
|Prairie Grass||big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)||1989||>|
|Grain||corn (Zea mays)||2017||>|
|Fruit||Gold Rush Apple (Malus domestica)||2007||>|
|Bird||cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)||1929||>|
|Animal||white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)||1982||>|
|Reptile||painted turtle (Chrysemys picta)||2005||>|
|Snake||Eastern milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum)||2023||>|
|Amphibian||eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)||2005||>|
|Fish||bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)||1986||>|
|Insect||monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)||1975||>|
|Fossil †||Tully Monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium)||1989||>|
|Pet||shelter dogs and cats||2017||>|
|Tartan||Illinois Saint Andrew Society tartan||2012||>|
|Theater||The Great American People Show||1995||>|
On a brighter note, Illinois probably has more grass symbols than any other state.
Illinois’ state wildflower, milkweed, complements its state insect, the beautiful monarch butterfly. However, Illinois’ most intriguing symbol is its state fossil, the Tully monster. Scientists still don’t even know exactly what it was.
Illinois is one of the few states with an official—wait for it—microbe. However, there are probably more conspiracy theories swirling around its state mineral than all of Illinois’ other symbols combined.
If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.
You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)
After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.