What are the Iowa State Symbols?

Author: Jason Coles

Updated On:

Iowa first began to adopt its own official state symbols in 1847. Many more have been adopted since then, and a state symbol can come in the form of state animals, mammals, a state bird and flower, fruits, vegetables, amphibians, nicknames, state seals, and much more.

State symbols were adopted by states to best represent them and their historical roots and past and present successes. Like all other states, several Iowa state symbols epitomize the state.

State Symbols of Iowa List

There are many state symbols of Iowa that have created an abundance of interesting facts, both from the past and present.

We have created a detailed list of the most significant Iowa state symbols below, and further, down the page, you will find a comprehensive list with each Iowa symbol and the date they were officially created.

Iowa State Bird and Flower

It was in 1933 when the beautiful eastern goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) was adopted as the official state bird of Iowa! The famous bird also goes by the name of American goldfinch or wild canary. They can be found residing all over Iowa, often remaining in the state during the winter months too.

Fortunately, unlike many birds in North America, these goldfinches are not endangered, and there are an estimated 42 million currently. Their diet mostly consists of seeds from dandelions, sunflowers, ragweed, and evening primrose.

The wild rose was initially adopted as the Iowa state flower in 1897; however, there were no specific rose species that had been assigned to Iowa as the state flower until the wild prairie rose (Rosa Pratincola) years later.

Typically, wild roses will bloom from June until the late summer throughout the state. This stunning flower produces diverse colors, including shades of pink, yellow, red, and more.

Iowa State Soil

Iowa, unlike most states, doesn’t have the conventional state symbols, far from it. There are no state animals, mammals, or insects; in fact, there are not many Iowa state symbols at all! Unusually, there is a state soil used to represent the state of Iowa.

Tama soil was originally chosen to represent Iowa as the state soil as it is considered by many to be the most productive soil in Iowa for agriculture, which has helped build the state economy up over the years. There are approximately 825,000 acres containing Tama soil in eastern Iowa.

Iowa State Seal

The great state seal of Iowa is incredibly historical and symbolic of the state. There is much going on within the image – the center of the seal is occupied by a citizen soldier standing in the middle of a wheat field whilst surrounded by industrial and agricultural tools, paying homage to Iowa’s most successful early industries.

Iowa state seal

You can also see the iconic Mississippi River in the background, with a large eagle above holding up the official state motto. The eagle does not only appear here but also on the Iowa state flag. The official state seal of Iowa was created as a result of the first state Legislature back in 1847!

Iowa State Rock

The geode became the official state rock of Iowa back in 1967 to promote tourism within the state since they are found in abundance across Iowa. The state has gained a rather large international reputation for the vast number of geodes produced.

Many geode collectors still go to Iowa in search of geodes, with one of the best areas in the state being around Koekuk. People collect and sell them, to then be found in museums all across the world. If you are interested in finding geodes in Iowa, you should check out the popular geode locations across the state.

Iowa State Language

This Iowa state symbol is rather straightforward – the state made English the official state language in 2002 to try and encourage the citizens of the state to improve and eventually master the English language. The state’s former governor, Mr. Tom Vilsack, signed into law the Iowa English Language Reaffirmation Act, which meant that all official documents should be written in English.

Iowa State Tree

The famous Oak tree is the official tree of Iowa and has been since 1961 as well as being the national tree of the United States. This tree was picked to represent the state of Iowa due to the sheer numbers across the state – oak trees are incredibly prevalent in Iowa.

Not only this, but oak trees provide shelter, food, and nesting for many of the state’s animals and wildlife.

All Iowa State Symbols (Table)

Now that we have taken a look at some of the most popular and notable Iowa state symbols, it makes sense to show you the rest of the symbols associated with the state. The table below displays all 15 of the Iowa state symbols, including mottos, nicknames, and even the state song. As you can see, not only have we displayed the symbol, but the date on which the symbol was officially adopted.

Type Of SymbolState SymbolYear
Iowa State BirdAmerican Goldfinch1933
Iowa State FlagCivil and State Flag1921
Iowa State FlowerWild Rose1897
Iowa State RockGeode1967
Iowa State Great SealSeal of the State of Iowa1847
Iowa State TreeOak Tree1961
Iowa State CapitalDes Moines1857
Iowa State LanguageEnglish2002
Iowa State Motto"Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain."1847
Iowa State Name (Origin)Native American Word: Iowas1846
Iowa State NicknameThe Hawkeye State1838
Iowa State QuarterIowa Quarter2004
Iowa State Soil (Unofficial)Tama SoilN/A
Iowa State SongSong of Iowa1911
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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., Jason has written over 1,200 business plans over the past 16+ years for start-ups looking to establish and expand their footprint in the United States.