State symbols are often adopted after a collaborative effort by citizens to have a significant item recognized for its importance to the state. States such as Georgia, and many others began to adopt some of their own official state symbols several decades ago, and in some cases, over 100 years ago. A state symbol can come in the form of state mammals, birds, flowers, amphibians, nicknames, state seals, and much more.
Citizens, children, and educational institutions often research a particular symbol and make a request for a bill, tracking it all the way through the legislative process with the hope that it is enacted, and a new state symbol is announced for Georgia. Like all other states, there are many Georgia state symbols. The Georgia state bird and flower are the Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) and the Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata).
What is the Georgia State Bird?
The Brown Thrasher is native to America and became Georgia’s state bird on April 6, 1935. This bird can be commonly found in abundance throughout the state of Georgia, and it resides in the Mimidae bird family, which also includes the New World catbirds and mockingbirds. Brown Thrashers are commonly found throughout the state and are not considered to be endangered, however, there has been a slight decline in their numbers over recent years.
These birds are favorites with farmers throughout the U.S. as they enjoy feeding off grasshoppers, caterpillars, and worms, who usually provide much annoyance to agricultural workers and businesses. Many believe that their name was adopted due to them hopping around, searching, and scrounging for insects under leaves. Others believe that their name is derived from the way they thrash large insects to death!
What is the Georgia State Flower?
The name of Georgia’s state flower was derived from the Cherokee tribe of Native America and is a part of the rose family. The Cherokee Rose is snow-white, and they are originally native to southern China, Taiwan, and also southeast Asia. The state flower was officially adopted on August 18, 1916.
Cherokee Roses are impressive in stature too, they are evergreen climbing shrubs, growing over other shrubs and small trees, reaching impressive heights of up to 16 to 33 feet. Their leaves will grow between 1.2 and 3.9 inches in length. These flowers tend to grow three leaflets, but on rare occasions, they will grow five. Their beautiful yellow stamens and stunning white petals make them a worthy and popular choice for the Georgia state flower.
Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Peach State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in its state bird and flower.