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Maryland State Symbols


Welcome to . . . one of the few states that don’t have any really cool nicknames. As compensation, Maryland has a remarkable roster of state symbols, however. For starters, many are unique, not shared by any other state. (Continued below)

Maryland State Flag
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames Free State, Old Line State
Symbols of State
Motto Scuto Bonae Voluntatis Tuae Coronasti Nos
Motto Fatti maschii parole femine
Song (former) Maryland, My Maryland 1939
Flower black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) 1918
Tree white oak (Quercus alba) 1941
Bird Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula) 1947
Horse Thoroughbred (Equus caballus) 2003
Dog Chesapeake Bay Retriever (Canis lupus familiaris) 1964
Cat calico cat (Felis catus) 2001
Reptile diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) 1994
Fish rockfish or striped bass (Morone saxatilis) 1965
Insect Baltimore checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton) 1973
Crustacean blue crab (Callinectes-sapidus) 1989
Gem Patuxent River stone 2004
Fossil Shell † Ecphora gardnerae 1984
Dinosaur † Astrodon johnstoni 1998
Soil Sassafras (unofficial) Unofficial
Cultural Symbols
Boat Skipjack 1985
Dessert Smith Island Cake 2008
Beverage milk Redundant Symbol 1998
Spirit rye whiskey 2023
Sport jousting 1962
Team Sport lacrosse 2004
Recreational and Team Sport volleyball 2014
Exercise walking 2008
Folk Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1994
Theater Center Stage, Baltimore 1978
Summer Theater of Maryland Olney Theatre, Montgomery County 1978

Then there’s that amazing flag. Some consider it the most beautiful of state flags, while others think it’s the worst. However, the colors on Maryland’s flag are complemented by the state flower (black-eyed Susan), state bird (Baltimore oriole), state insect (Baltimore checkerspot butterfly), and maybe even the reptile (diamondback terrapin).

Other symbols that have their own fan clubs include the Thoroughbred, jousting, striped bass, blue crab, and skipjack. In summary, sports, seafood, and bright colors appear to be the main themes among Maryland’s exciting symbols. But what happened to Maryland’s state song, and why do so many people hate Maryland’s flag?

Although it isn’t one of my favorites, I think Maryland’s flag is cool. I’m also a big fan of its former state song, which was painfully honest. But who can handle the truth these days?

* * * * *

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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