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Pennsylvania State Symbols


Welcome to the Keystone State! At first glance, Pennsylvania’s symbols may not seem terribly exciting, except for its firefly and hellbender. Put them all together, however, and they spell Pennsylvania. (Continued below)

Pennsylvania State Flag
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames The Keystone State, Quaker State  
Symbols of State
Flag 1907
Motto Virtue, Liberty, and Independence 1875
Latin Motto Ubi libertas vivit, hic patria mihi 2015
Song Pennsylvania 1990
Flower mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) 1933
Tree eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) 1931
Beautification and Conservation Plant Penngift crownvetch (Securigera varia) 1982
Bird ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) 1931
Animal white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) 1959
Dog Great Dane (Canis lupus familiaris) 1965
Amphibian hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) 2019
Fish brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) 1970
Insect firefly (Photuris pennsylvanica) 1974
Fossil † trilobite (Phacops rana) 1988
Soil Hazelton (unofficial) Unofficial
Cultural Symbols
Beverage milk Redundant Symbol 1982
Steam Locomotive K4s Steam Locomotive 1987
Electric Locomotive GG1 4859 Electric Locomotive 1987
Aircraft Piper J-3 Cub 2014
Arboretum Morris Arboretum and Gardens of the University of Pennsylvania 1988
Pops Orchestra Philly Pops 1999
Theatre Walnut Street Theatre at 9th and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia 1999
Firearm Pennsylvania long rifle 2014
Flagship of Pennsylvania United States Brig Niagara 1988

The white-tailed deer and brook trout are the most popular of state mammals and fishes. However, the whitetail may be more closely associated with Pennsylvania than another state.

More unusual is the state tree and bird, the eastern hemlock and ruffed grouse. However, the symbol most likely to stop people in their tracks is the hellbender, an aquatic creature that was designated the state amphibian.

However, Pennsylvania’s most exciting symbol may be a Keystone Flag that is poised to become the new state flag. It gets my vote.

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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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