What are the Illinois 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, Illinois is no different from many other U.S. states, with a plethora of symbols that are indicative to 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 Illinois state symbol list.

Illinois state symbols

State of Illinois Symbols List

There is an incredible amount of state of Illinois 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 Illinois state symbols below and further down the page you will find a comprehensive table with each Illinois symbol and the date in which they were officially created.

Illinois State Animal

The white-tailed deer has been the animal to represent Illinois since 1980. This was after winning the vote of the schoolchildren of Illinois during a mini-election. This beautiful deer with a noticeably white tail is undoubtedly one of the most popular animals in the U.S. Due to there being a plethora of these beautiful deer in the state, it makes total sense why Illinois adopted it as the official Illinois state animal.

Illinois state animal

This can be seen by the sheer number of other states that have adopted it as their official state animal. Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin all call the white-tailed deer their official state animal.

Illinois State Fruit

The famous goldrush apple became the official state fruit for Illinois as recently as 2008. This type of apple is and has always been incredibly popular within the state, and you will often see goldrush apple trees growing in orchids all over the state.

Illinois state fruit

The apple itself was adopted through a fourth-grade class at Woodlawn Elementary School, which was taught by a man named Mark Richardson. Richardson’s class initiated the legislation shortly after making the discovery that Illinois didn’t have an official state fruit! Shortly after researching what fruit they should choose, the kids discovered that the University of Illinois played a very important role in developing the goldrush apple.

Illinois State Bird and Flower

It seems that in Illinois, schoolchildren played a massive role in these symbols being created and assigned to their various icons, and the story is no different for the official state bird. The Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is the official state bird of Illinois and has been since 1929 after being voted by the Illinois General Assembly. The cardinal is also the state bird for the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Illinois state bird and flower

The famous and beautiful violet flower (Viola sp.) has been the official state flower for Illinois since 1908. These glorious purple flowers can be found growing on the prairie and on people’s lawns. They will also appear in abundance in the woods and wetlands of the state. The Illinois state bird and flower are the perfect representations of the state itself.

Illinois State Seal

The current Illinois state seal was authorized in 1867, which is a number of years after the state was granted statehood back in 1818. The official Illinois state seal contains a bald eagle holding up a banner in its beak that states the official state motto, “State Sovereignty, National Union”.

Illinois state seal

The words that are circled around the state seal say “Seal of the State of Illinois” and “Aug. 26, 1818,”, which obviously states the official name of the state seal, and also the date on which the first Illinois Constitution was signed, which led to the state becoming the Illinois we know today.

Illinois State Insect

The stunning monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) became the official state insect in 1975 due to, you guessed it, a group of lobbying schoolchildren who discovered that Illinois did not have a state insect!

Texas state insect

Their coloration is gorgeous to look at, black, orange, and white colors with amazing patterns, however, the reason for their vivid colors is to warn predators off them.

Illinois State Tree

The historical white oak (Quercus alba) has been the official state tree of Illinois since 1973, again, it was another result of a special schoolchildren poll that consisted of 900,000 voters from various schools across the state.

Illinois state tree

Initially, the state tree for Illinois was the native oak, which was adopted in 1908, however, there are many different species of “native oak” especially in Illinois.

All Illinois 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 state of Illinois, it makes sense to showcase all the Illinois 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
Illinois State AmphibianEastern tiger salamander2005
Illinois State AnimalWhite-tailed deer1982
Illinois State ArtifactPirogue2017
Illinois State BirdNorthern cardinal1929
Illinois State ExerciseCycling2018
Illinois State FishBluegill1986
Illinois State FlagCivil and State Flag1969
Illinois State FlowerViolet1908
Illinois State Folk danceSquare dance1990
Illinois State FruitGold Rush Apple2007
Illinois State FossilTully monster1989
Illinois State GrainCorn2018
Illinois State InsectMonarch butterfly1975
Illinois State MineralFluorite1965
Illinois State Nickname"The Prairie State"
Illinois State PetShelter dogs and shelter cats2017
Illinois State PiePumpkin pie2016
Illinois State Prairie grassBig bluestem1989
Illinois State ReptilePainted turtle2006
Illinois State SealSeal of the State of Illinois1867
Illinois State Slogan"Land of Lincoln"1955
Illinois State SnackfoodPopcorn2004
Illinois State SoilDrummer silty clay loam2001
Illinois State Song"Illinois"1925
Illinois State TartanIllinois Saint Andrew Society Tartan2012
Illinois State TheatreThe Great American People Show1995
Illinois State TreeWhite oak1973
Illinois State VegetableSweet corn2015
Illinois State WildflowerMilkweed2017

US State Symbols


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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 1,365 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.