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Florida State Symbols


Welcome to the Sunshine State! Florida has around 50 state symbols. Even if we ignore some of the more boring symbols (like the state motto and language), that’s still a lot of symbols to learn about.

If Florida’s symbols have a central theme, it’s sunshine spiced with flowers, citrus fruit, and the sea. (Continued below)

Florida State Flag
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames Sunshine State, Orange State, Everglade State, Alligator State 1970
Symbols of State
Motto In God We Trust 2006
Song Old Folks at Home 2008
(former) The Swanee River 1935
(former) Florida, My Florida 1913
Flower orange blossom (Citrus sinensis) 1909
Wildflower Coreopsis 1991
Tree sabal palmetto (Sabal palmetto) 1953
Fruit orange (Citrus sinensis) 2005
Bird mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) 1927
Animal Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) 1982
Marine Mammal manatee (Trichechus manatus) 1975
Saltwater Mammal porpoise (bottle-nosed dolphin) (Tursiops truncatus) 1975
Heritage Horse cracker horse (Equus caballus) 2008
Heritage Cattle Breed cracker cattle (Bos taurus) 2018
Reptile American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) 1987
Saltwater Reptile loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) 2008
Tortoise gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) 2008
Freshwater Fish largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) 1975
Saltwater Fish sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) 1975
Butterfly zebra longwing (Heliconius charithonia) 1996
Shell horse conch (Pleuroploca gigantea) 1969
Gem moonstone 1970
Stone agatized coral (Anthozoa) 1979
Soil Myakka Fine Sand 1989
Cultural Symbols
Food Key Lime Pie 2006
Dessert strawberry shortcake 2023
Honey Tupelo honey 2016
Beverage orange juice 1967
Rodeo Silver Spurs Rodeo (Osceola County) 1994
Hall of Fame The Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Lake City, Columbia County 1999
Flagship Western Union 2012
Maritime Museum Admiral John H. Fetterman State of Florida Maritime Museum and Research Center 2006
Railroad Museum The Orange Blossom Special Railroad Museum 1984
Air Fair Event Central Florida Air Fair 1976
Transportation Museum The Florida Museum of Transportation and History, Fernandina Beach 1985
Festival Event Calle Ocho Open House 1980
Renaissance Festival Event Italian Renaissance Festival 1994
Citrus Archive The Florida Citrus Archives 2001
Moving Image Center and Archive The Louis Wolfson II Media History Center, Inc, Miami 1989
Litter Control Symbol Keep Florida Beautiful, Incorporated, service mark 1978
Anthem Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky 2008
Song I Am Florida 2013
Poem I Am Florida 2013
Opera Program The Greater Miami Opera Association; the Orlando Opera Company, Incorporated; and the Florida State University School of Music 1983
Fiddle Contest Event Florida State Fiddlers’ Association 1989
Band The St. Johns River City Band 1990
Pageant Indian River, Brevard County 1979
Play Cross and Sword 1973
Language English Redundant Symbol 1988

Florida has more popular nicknames than almost any other state. They include Orange State, Alligator State, and Everglade State. However, Florida’s official nickname is Sunshine State.

Florida’s official nickname reminds me of its official wildflower, the sunny Coreopsis.

In fact, the name Florida comes from La Florida. Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon named it in honor of Pascua Florida, the Spanish Feast of the Flowers (Easter). Some say Florida means “Land of Flowers.” The Spanish also introduced citrus fruits, including oranges and limes.

Today, Orange State is a popular Florida nickname. The orange blossom is Florida’s state flower, and the orange is the state fruit. Can you guess what Florida’s official state beverage is? Orange juice!

Not all of Florida’s symbols are sunny, however. Do you know which Florida symbol isn’t even found in Florida, or which symbols are widely considered racist?

* * * * *

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.

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