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Missouri State Symbols


Welcome to the Show Me State! Generally speaking, Missouri’s state symbols aren’t terribly unique or exciting. Then again, no other state calls the hawthorn blossom its state flower or the pawpaw its official fruit tree. (Continued below)

Missouri State Flag
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames The Show Me State, Bullion State, Lead State, Cave State, Ozark State  
Symbols of State
Motto Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto
Song Missouri Waltz 1949
Flower hawthorn blossom (Crataegus) 1923
Tree American dogwood (Cornus florida) 1955
Fruit Tree pawpaw (Asimina triloba) 2019
Grass big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) 2017
Grape Norton/Cynthiana grape (Vitis aestivalis) 2003
Tree Nut black walnut (Juglans nigra) 1990
Bird eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) 1927
Game Bird bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) 2007
Animal Missouri mule (Equus) 1995
Horse Missouri Fox Trotting Horse (Equus caballus) 2002
Reptile three-toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina) 2007
Amphibian bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) 2005
Endangered Species hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) 2019
Fish channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) 1997
Aquatic Animal paddlefish or spoonbill (Polyodon spathula) 1997
Insect honeybee (Apis mellifera) Redundant Symbol 1985
Crustacean crayfish (Cambaridae) 2007
Mineral galena (lead) 1967
Rock mozarkite 1967
Fossil † crinoid (Delocrinus missouriensis) 1989
Dinosaur † Parrosaurus (formerly Hypsibema) missouriensis 2004
Soil Menfro (unofficial) Unofficial
Cultural Symbols
Monument Gateway Arch 2021
Sport archery 2022
Exercise jumping jacks 2014
Dessert ice cream cone 2008
Historical Dog Old Drum 2017
Wonder Dog Jim the Wonder Dog 2017
Tartan 2019
American Folk Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1995
Musical Instrument fiddle 1987
Language English Redundant Symbol 1998

However, my favorite Missouri symbols are the mule and paddlefish. The mule reminds me of the nickname Show Me State, a good nickname for anyone who studies the conspiracies that are swirling all around us these days. The paddlefish reminds me of my native South Dakota, which is divided by the Missouri River. Yes, we have paddlefish, too, but most Americans have probably never even heard of this amazing creature.

The paddlefish is a living fossil, but Missouri’s state fossil is the crinoid, which is even older.

Missouri symbols that some may find a little puzzling include the hellbender, archery, jumping jacks, ice cream cone, and two wonder dogs, one of which is a poster puppy for conspiracy. Do you think we’re being told the truth about Jim the Wonder Dog?

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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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