Welcome to the Beehive State! Utahns have done a wonderful job of adopting some very distinctive and sometimes quirky symbols, from the beautiful quaking aspen to Jell-O to a distant star. (Continued below)
|Nicknames & Slogans|
|Nicknames||The Beehive State, Mormon State, Salt Lake State, Land of the Saints|
|Symbols of State|
|Song||Utah, This is the Place||2003||>|
|Flower||Sego lily (Calochortus nuttallii)||1911||>|
|Tree||quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)||2014||>|
|(former)||Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens)||1933|
|Grass||Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides)||1990||>|
|Vegetable||Spanish sweet onion (Allium cepa)||2002||>|
|Historic Vegetable||sugar beet (Beta vulgaris)||2002||>|
|Bird||California gull (Larus californicus)||1955||>|
|Animal||Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus)||1971||>|
|Lizard||Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum)||2019||>|
|Fish||Bonneville cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii utah)||1997||>|
|(former)||rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)||1971|
|Insect||honeybee (Apis mellifera)||1983||>|
|Crustacean||brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana)||2023||>|
|Mushroom||porcini (Boletus edulis)||2023||>|
|Astronomical Symbol||The Beehive Cluster located in the constellation Cancer the Crab||1996|
|Cooking Pot||Dutch oven||1997||>|
|Winter Sports||skiing and snowboarding||2012||>|
|Railroad Museum||Ogden Union Station||1988||>|
|Folk Dance||square dance||1994||>|
|Hymn||Utah, We Love Thee||2003||>|
|Work of Land Art||Spiral Jetty||2017||>|
|Work of Art||Native American rock art||2017||>|
|Firearm||John M. Browning designed M1911 automatic pistol||2011||>|
As much as I love Gila monsters, designating the reptilian legend the state lizard was an odd choice, not because it’s venomous but because it’s presence in Utah is marginal. Good luck finding one.
There are some amazing stories of frontier survival behind the state flower (the sego lily) and bird (California gull). In fact, there are so many conflicting accounts about the latter, one might suspect a conspiracy.
In 2011, Utah became the second state to adopt an official firearm when it embraced the M1911 automatic pistol, which was designed by John M. Browning. Though it is most famously associated with World War I—arguably the most pointless war ever—the M1911 was specifically designed to kill the Filipinos the U.S. “liberated” from Spanish colonialism.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are two official art symbols, Native American rock art and the more contemporary Spiral Jetty. Wow!
Another winner is Utah’s new state flag, selected from thousands of designs submitted by people around the world. The old flag reminds me of the M1911 pistol, while the new flag recalls the Rocky Mountains, Utah’s fabled canyonlands, and maybe even the gulls that supposedly rescued pioneers from an insect plague.
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.