State symbols have been a mainstay of U.S. culture since the very beginning. Official symbols are used to represent the cultural heritage and natural history of each state in the most fun and factual way possible.

Fortunately, California is not a lot different from many other U.S. states, with a plethora of symbols that are indicative of the state’s historical roots and geological history. There are also recognizable icons and emblems for each state, such as state seals and flags, nicknames and mottos, and much more which we have included in our California’s state symbols list.

California state symbols

State of California Symbols List

There is an incredible amount of state of California symbols, and all states for that matter, creating a whole host of interesting facts, both from the past and present. We have shortlisted the top 6 most significant California state symbols below and further down the page you will find a comprehensive table with each California symbol and the date on which they were officially created.

California State Animal

The California state animal is the California grizzly bear (Ursus californicus), which can be found on the California state flag and official state seal. The bear was designated as the official state animal during the year 1953, at this point, over 30 years had passed since the last one was killed. This beautiful yet heavily endangered animal encompasses everything that the California state animal should do.

California state animal

Back in the early days and before these amazing bears were exterminated from California, they used to happily thrive in the wild of the great valleys and low mountains of California. As more and more humans began to populate the area of California, the stubborn grizzly bears did not retreat from civilization and instead stood their ground. They would invade settlements and destroy livestock, and so around 70 years after the discovery of gold, every grizzly bear in the Golden State was tracked down and sadly killed.

A quote from the California state library reads: “The last one was killed in Tulare County in 1922, more than 20 years before the authority to regulate the taking of fish and wildlife was delegated to the California Fish and Game Commission by the State Legislature”. In terms of the rest of the world, Grizzly bears are not far off from complete extinction.

California State Fruit

California’s state fruit is the avocado, which has only been the fruit to represent the state since 2013. Because of its relatively new adoption, there is not a great deal of historical information provided that showcases the state’s relationship with this tasty savory fruit.

California state fruit

What we can say about the avocado and California however, is that the Golden State is clearly the largest producing state in the U.S., and in 2020 alone, around 188,000 tons of avocados were grown and harvested within California (statista.com). To put into perspective how popular and big the avocado industry is in California, in 2020 alone, around 17,500 tons of avocados were produced in Florida, which is the next largest producing state (not even 10% of California)!

California State Bird and Flower

The California poppy (Eschscholzia Californica) was originally designed to represent California’s state flower back in 1903. This famous flower is also known as the flame flower, la amapola, and copa de oro. Unsurprisingly, the California poppy grows all over the state and Native Americans that resided within California used the poppy as a food source and for the oil that can be extracted from it.

California state flower and bird

In 1931 California chose the California quail (Callipepla Californicus) to represent the state as the official state bird. These birds are well-known for their hardiness and easy adaptability to almost any environment. They are rather plump, small birds that possess a distinctive black plume on their head and a large black mark under their beak. The gorgeous California poppy and the California quail are brilliant representatives for the California state bird and flower.

California State Seal

The California state seal was officially adopted by the Constitutional Convention of 1849. This was around the exact same time the state of California was granted its statehood. The Great Seal of California has 31 stars on the top of the picture that is being portrayed, in almost a semi-circle format. These stars represent the number of states that were in existence before California’s admission to the United States back in 1850.

California State Insect

The remarkably beautiful California dogface butterfly (Zerene eurydice) may not have the most attractive name, but it certainly makes up for it in appearance. This insect was adopted as the official state insect in 1972 and can only be found in California, and the reason for the name is due to the markings on their wings resembling the silhouette of a dog’s head.

California state insect

California State Tree

California’s state tree was officially adopted as the California redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in 1937. This tree is the biggest in the world, with 30+ foot diameter trunks and averaging around 300 feet high, it is clear to see why.

Texas state tree

All California State Symbols (Table)

Now that we have taken a look at some of the more popular and notable state symbols that are associated with the great state of California, it makes sense to showcase all the California state symbols that are best used to represent the state’s history and more present achievements and moments. Here is the complete list of symbols:

Type Of SymbolState SymbolYear
California State AmphibianCalifornia red-legged frog2014
California State AnimalCalifornia grizzly bear1958
California State BirdCalifornia quail1931
California State ColorsBlue, which represents the sky, and gold, which represents the color of the precious metal found by forty-niners in the state's hills.1951
California State DanceWest Coast Swing1988
California State DinosaurAugustynolophus2017
California State FabricDenim2016
California State Fife and Drum BandCalifornia Consolidated Drum Band1997
California State Freshwater FishGolden trout1947
California State FlowerCalifornia poppy1903
California State Folk DanceSquare dance1988
California State FossilSaber-toothed cat1973
California State FruitAvocado2013
California State GemstoneBenitoite1985
California State Gold Rush Ghost TownBodie2002
California State GrainRice2013
California State GrassPurple needlegrass2004
California State Historical SocietyCalifornia Historical Society1979
California State InsectsCalifornia dogface butterfly1972
California State Marine FishGaribaldi2002
California State LichenLace lichen2015
California State Marine MammalGray whale1975
California State Marine ReptileLeatherback sea turtle2012
California State Military MuseumCalifornia State Military Museum2004
California State MineralGold1965
California State NutsAlmond, Walnut, Pistachio, and Pecan2017
California State Outdoor PlayThe Ramona Pageant1993
California State Prehistoric ArtifactChipped Stone Bear1991
California State ReptileDesert tortoise1972
California State RockSerpentine1965
California State SealCalifornia Great State Seal1849
California State Silver Rush Ghost TownCalico2005
California State SoilSan Joaquin1997
California State SportSurfing2018
California State Tall shipCalifornian2003
California State TartanCalifornia state tartan2001
California State TheaterPasadena Playhouse1937
California State TreeCoast redwood & giant sequoia1937
California State VegetableArtichoke2013