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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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 Symbol||State Symbol||Year|
|Illinois State Amphibian||Eastern tiger salamander||2005|
|Illinois State Animal||White-tailed deer||1982|
|Illinois State Artifact||Pirogue||2017|
|Illinois State Bird||Northern cardinal||1929|
|Illinois State Exercise||Cycling||2018|
|Illinois State Fish||Bluegill||1986|
|Illinois State Flag||Civil and State Flag||1969|
|Illinois State Flower||Violet||1908|
|Illinois State Folk dance||Square dance||1990|
|Illinois State Fruit||Gold Rush Apple||2007|
|Illinois State Fossil||Tully monster||1989|
|Illinois State Grain||Corn||2018|
|Illinois State Insect||Monarch butterfly||1975|
|Illinois State Mineral||Fluorite||1965|
|Illinois State Nickname||"The Prairie State"|
|Illinois State Pet||Shelter dogs and shelter cats||2017|
|Illinois State Pie||Pumpkin pie||2016|
|Illinois State Prairie grass||Big bluestem||1989|
|Illinois State Reptile||Painted turtle||2006|
|Illinois State Seal||Seal of the State of Illinois||1867|
|Illinois State Slogan||"Land of Lincoln"||1955|
|Illinois State Snackfood||Popcorn||2004|
|Illinois State Soil||Drummer silty clay loam||2001|
|Illinois State Song||"Illinois"||1925|
|Illinois State Tartan||Illinois Saint Andrew Society Tartan||2012|
|Illinois State Theatre||The Great American People Show||1995|
|Illinois State Tree||White oak||1973|
|Illinois State Vegetable||Sweet corn||2015|
|Illinois State Wildflower||Milkweed||2017|