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Washington State Symbols


Welcome to the Evergreen State! Washington’s state symbols appear to embrace two themes, George Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

The state is named for George Washington, who is depicted on the state flag and seal. Washington also has an official ship and tall ship, named the President Washington and Lady Washington. (Continued below)

Washington State Flag
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames The Evergreen State, Chinook State  
Symbols of State
Motto Alki 1893
Song Washington, My Home 1959
Flower coast rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) 1959
(former) rhododendron (Rhododendron californicum) 1949
Tree western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) 1947
Grass bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) 1989
Fruit apple (Malus) 1989
Vegetable Walla Walla sweet onion (Allium cepa) 2007
Bird willow goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) 1951
Endemic Mammal Olympic marmot (Marmota olympus) 2009
Marine Mammal orca (Orcinus orca) 2005
Amphibian Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla) 2007
Fish steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) 1969
Insect green darner dragonfly (Anax junius) 1997
Oyster Ostrea lurida 2014
Gem petrified wood 1975
Fossil † Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) 1998
Dinosaur † Suciasaurus rex 2023
Soil Tokul (unofficial) Unofficial
Waterfall Palouse Falls 2014
Cultural Symbols
Ship President Washington 1983
Tall Ship Lady Washington 2007
Sport pickleball 2022
Arboretum Washington Park Arboretum (University of Washington, Seattle) 1995
Tartan 1991
Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1979
Folk Song Roll on Columbia, Roll On 1987

The Lady Washington is a sailing ship, but the President Washington was a container ship. How exciting is that? It’s a reminder that the Pacific Northwest is ruled by corporate Seattle.

The nickname Evergreen State was inspired by Washington’s vast forests. But there’s a catch: The nickname was actually coined by a Seattle real estate agent.

Washington’s state motto, Alki, reflects the hope that Seattle might one day be the West Coast’s equivalent of New York City. Sadly, that dream is coming true as the Seattle area’s population explodes.

The only waterfall adopted as a state symbol, Palouse Falls is among the few symbols representing Eastern Washington.

Reality check: Did you know that George Washington was an aristocratic slave owner who never traveled west of the Appalachians? Doesn’t it seem a little tacky to portray him on a flag while moaning about racist Confederate symbols? Even the WOKE crowd ignores Washington’s flag. Hypocrisy, anyone?

I’m not WOKE, but I am awake, and I’m campaigning for a new Washington state flag.

* * * * *

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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