What are Florida’s State Symbols?

Author: Jason Coles

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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 way possible. Fortunately, Florida shares absolutely no differences when compared with other U.S. states, with an abundance 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 Florida’s state symbols list.

State of Florida Symbols List

There is an incredible amount of state of Florida state symbols creating a plethora of interesting facts, both from the past and present. Below we have listed many Florida state symbols that all pay homage to the state and its historical routes, both past, and present. We have also provided a link for each symbol to a larger, more detailed page on the specific symbol.

Florida State Animal

In 1982 students in Florida voted for the majestic Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi) as the official state animal of Florida. These cats are large in size (growing more than 6 feet in length), with an almost tan color. Their bodies are covered in beige/gray fur and they are a subspecies of the famous U.S. Mountain Lion. Unfortunately, due to fear, the Florida panther was wiped out to near extinction – featuring on the federal endangered species list back in 1967 and subsequently the Florida endangered list in 1973. Fortunately, hunting them is totally illegal now, but they face new challenges with their habitat being destroyed on an almost daily basis.

Florida State Marine Mammal

Manatees are some of the most unusual marine mammals in the world, and they are incredibly popular with the people of Florida. The famous manatee (Trichechus manatus) became the official Florida state marine mammal in 1975. Despite popular belief, Mannattees tend to reside in shallow coastal waters, rivers, estuaries, canals, and saltwater bays due to their diet consisting primarily of seagrass. They are slow, peaceful, herbivores that care tremendously for their young. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this, manatees are one of the most endangered marine mammals in the United States.

Florida’s State Fruit

The orange has been Florida’s official state fruit since 2005 thanks to the efforts of a school teacher, Janet Shapiro, and her students at Southside Elementary School. The reason for this was that they realized that, whilst Florida had a state flower (orange blossom) and a state beverage (orange juice), one thing that the state does not have is an official fruit! It was an absolute no-brainer to choose oranges, and there we have the Florida state fruit.

Florida State Bird

Florida’s state bird was designated as the mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) in 1927. These birds are incredibly unique due to their singing and tweeting, playing almost 200 different songs, and mimicking a variety of different sounds. It is not just Florida that has adopted this unique and beautiful bird, there are a few other states that call the northern mockingbird their state bird – Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

Florida State Flower

The orange blossom (Citrus sinensis) was originally adopted as the official state flower for Florida back in 1909, making it one of the oldest state symbols since Florida’s inception in 1845. Oranges in particular have played a huge and historical role within the state, helping build the foundations of what is an incredibly large and stable economy.

Florida State Seal

The Florida State Seal was officially adopted by the 1865 legislature, which set out clear instructions to have the seal be the same size as the American silver dollar and to portray a scene “in the middle of the sun’s rays over a high land in the distance, a cocoa tree, a steamboat on water, and Indian female scattering flowers in the foreground.”

Seal of Florida

In addition to the image displayed on the official seal, there are encircled words displaying; “Great Seal of the State of Florida: In God We Trust” – which is the official state motto of Florida. In 1970, the Florida seal was updated, replacing the cocoa tree with the sabal palmetto palm. The sabal palm is the official state tree for Florida. In addition to the tree being replaced, the headdress was also removed from the Native American woman as headdresses were only worn by males and the woman was portrayed as a Florida Seminole Indian American.

Florida State Butterfly

The Florida state butterfly is an incredibly beautiful and unique zebra longwing butterfly (Heliconius charitonius). This butterfly has been used to represent the state since 1996 and can be found in abundance throughout the state, specifically residing in hardwood hammocks, thickets, gardens, and the Everglades National Park.

Florida State Tree

In 1953, Florida adopted the sabal palmetto palm (Sabal palmetto) as the tree to officially represent the state. These palm trees can be found in abundance across the state and they can grow to an incredible 20 meters in height! These beautiful tropical trees can be found growing in the United States, Bahamas, and Cuba.

Florida State Wildflower

The genus Coreopsis wildflower became the official Florida state wildflower in 1991 after the beautiful flowers were used for Florida roadside paintings and also highway beautification programs!

Florida State Freshwater Fish

The Florida largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) became the official freshwater fish symbol of Florida in 1975, but this is not the only fish symbol for Florida! Largemouth bass is commonly fished in Florida and is found in abundance across the state. They can grow pretty big too, reaching around 16 inches in length.

Florida State Saltwater Fish

The quick and sharp Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) became the official Florida state saltwater fish in 1975. These fish migrate hundreds of miles each year, traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, which is certainly helped by their sheer speed. These unique fish can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour! Typically, they will grow to seven feet in length and can weigh up to 45 pounds.

Florida State Gem

The Florida state gem is the moonstone and has been representing the state since 1970 to pay homage to the American astronauts that landed on the moon the year previous, in 1969.

Florida State Reptile

The dangerous and prehistoric American alligator is the state reptile to represent Florida. American alligators were adopted as the official reptile for Florida back in 1987, and their name was derived from the Spanish words “El Lagarto”. Alligators have been on earth since the time of the dinosaurs – they are probably the most adaptable and robust animals in the entire world to endure such a long amount of time.

Florida State Soil

Myakka fine sand was adopted as the Florida state soil in 1989, and is totally native to Florida, not available in any other state! This obviously makes it incredibly unique to Florida, and the word Myakka is an old Native American word that translates to “Big Waters”.

Florida State Honey

Tupelo honey became the official Florida state honey on March 16, 2016, making it the latest symbol to be adopted by the sunshine state. This special honey is collected from beehives that reside on elevated platforms across the Apalachicola and Chipola rivers of the Florida panhandle. The bees will begin to harvest nectar from the tupelo tree blossoms between April and May.

Florida State Pie

Another somewhat strange symbol adopted by Florida is the official state pie, which is the delicious key lime pie. The pie, which resembles more of a tart became the official Florida state pie in 2006, making it one of the more recent adoptions.

Florida State Stone

The Florida state stone is actually a coral, paying homage to the state’s aquatic and tropical roots – the agatized coral became the official state stone in 1976. There are three main locations for this coral within the state – being most commonly found in Tampa Bay, Econfina River,  and the Withlacoochee river bed.

Florida State Gem

The Florida state gem is a beautiful and mystic moonstone and has been since it was adopted back in 1970! This adoption was to pay homage to the American astronauts that landed on the moon on that famous day in 1969, with all of the spaceflights being launched from the Kennedy Space Center located on Merritt Island, Florida. It might come as a surprise that moonstone is not naturally found in Florida, with the finest moonstone in the world being found in Sri Lanka and Southern India.

Florida State Symbols Table

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

Type Of SymbolState SymbolYear
Florida State day/weekPascua Florida1953
Florida State Motto"In God We Trust"2006
Florida State NicknameSunshine State1970
Florida State SealSeal of Florida1985
Florida State FlowerOrange blossom1909
Florida State TreeSabal palm1953
Florida State WildflowerTickseed1991
Florida State AnimalFlorida panther1982
Florida State BirdNorthern mockingbird1927
Florida State ButterflyZebra longwing1996
Florida State Freshwater FishFlorida largemouth bass1975
Florida State Saltwater FishAtlantic sailfish1975
Florida State FlagCivil and State Flag1900
Florida State HorseFlorida Cracker Horse2008
Florida State MammalFlorida manatee1975
Florida State ReptileAmerican alligator1987
Florida State ReptileLoggerhead sea turtle2008
Florida State ShellHorse conch1969
Florida State TortoiseGopher tortoise2008
Florida State GemMoonstone1970
Florida State SealSeal of the State of Florida1865
Florida State SoilMyakka soil1989
Florida State StoneAgatized coral1979
Florida State Anthem"Florida (Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky)"2008
Florida State BeverageOrange juice1967
Florida State Festival"Calle Ocho-Open House 8"1980
Florida State FruitOrange2005
Florida State Citrus archiveFlorida Citrus Archives2001
Florida State PieKey lime pie2006
Florida State PlayCross and Sword1973
Florida State RodeoSilver Spurs Rodeo1994
Florida State Railroad museumGold Coast Railroad Museum1984
Florida State Railroad museumFlorida Gulf Coast Railroad Museum1984

US State Symbols

Florida

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Jason Coles

Jason Coles is the Founder of Foreign USA and its Chief Content Writer and Editor. Recognized as a prolific business plan writer by many prominent immigration attorneys in the U.S. who refer his services to their clients regularly, Jason has written over 1,360 business plans across the past 17+ years for start-up companies and franchises looking to expand their footprint in the United States. Jason is considered a seasoned expert in his field. He creates detailed business plans for his clients that include five-year financial projections, market and industry analysis reports, demographic studies, organizational charts, job descriptions, employee hiring plans, and more.