The Robinson Library
THE ROBINSON LIBRARY
The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> Gulf States >> Texas
Official Symbols of Texas
The Confederate Air Force, now known as the Commemorative Air Force, was named the official state AIR FORCE on June 14, 1989.

Texas State Aquarium

The Texas toad (Bufo speciosus) was designated the official state AMPHIBIAN on June 19, 2009, following an intense campaign by students from Danbury Elementary School.

Texas toad

The aquarium planned by the Corpus Christi Aquarium Association was designated the official state AQUARIUM on June 7, 1985. The Texas State Aquarium opened its doors to the public in 1990.

Caprock Canyons bison herd

As suggested by the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, the mockingbird (Mimus polygottos) was adopted as the official state BIRD on January 31, 1927.

mockingbird

The bison herd at Caprock Canyons State Park, which is made up of direct descendants of "original" Plains bison, became the official state BISON HERD on June 17, 2011. On June 19, 2007, Ennis was designated the official state BLUEBONNET CITY, as well as the official BLUEBONNET TRAIL.

Ennis

The Chappell Hill Bluebonnet Festival, held in April, was designated the official state BLUEBONNET FESTIVAL on June 19, 2007, via the same resolution designating Ennis as the official Bluebonnet City and Trail. Pan de campo, also known as cowboy bread, was designated the official state BREAD on June 18, 2005.

pan de campo

Peach cobbler was designated the official state COBBLER in 2013.

peach cobbler

The cast iron Dutch oven was designated the official state COOKING IMPLEMENT on June 18, 2005.

Dutch oven

The Burton Cotton Gin & Museum was designated the official state COTTON GIN MUSEUM on June 19, 2009. More than 80 percent of the shrimp harvested in the United States comes from the Gulf of Mexico, and Texas ranks as one of the leading producers of wild-caught shrimp. In recognition os those facts, Texas gulf shrimp (no specific species) was designated the official state CRUSTACEAN in 2015.

brown shrimp

A sauropod called Pleurocoelus was designated the official state DINOSAUR in 1997. In 2007, paleontologists re-identified the bones and footprints as Paluxysaurus jonesi (named for the town of Paluxy and for the Paluxy River, both of which are near the Jones Ranch site where the fossils of this species were discovered. The new name was officially recognized in 2009.

Paluxysaurus jonesi

Chili became the official state DISH on May 11, 1977.

chili

Originating in Texas in the mid 1800's, the blue lacy was named after the Lacy Brothers of Burnet County (Frank, George, Edwin, and Harry Lacy), who noted the dog to be a coyote, greyhound and scenthound mixture, and to have a natural herding instinct. It was designated the official state DOG BREED on June 18, 2005.

blue lacy

According to research conducted in 1985 by journalist Christopher Evans of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "Texas 42" dates to 1887 and was developed by 12-year-old William A. Thomas and 14-year-old Walter Earl in the town of Trapp Spring (now known as Garner). It was designated the official state DOMINO GAME on June 11, 2011.
In June of 1969, the Texas Historical Survey Committee honored John Worth Cloud with the official state award for "Best Historical Publication of the Year on Local or Regional History," in recognition of his book, The Legend of the Old Stone Ranch. The book was designated the official state EPIC POEM on August 7, 1969.

The Legend of the Old Stone Ranch

Cotton is the largest cash crop in Texas, and Texas leads the nation in cotton production. In recognition of those facts, cotton was designated the official state FIBER AND FABRIC on June 18, 1997.

cotton

Found only in Texas, the Guadalupe bass (Micropterus treculi) is native to fast moving streams in the central Hill Country (including the headwaters of the San Antonio, Guadalupe, and Colorado Rivers. It was designated the official state FISH on May 10, 1989.

guadalupe bass

The design of the Texas State FLAG was adopted on January 25, 1839. It features the "Lone Star," and the red, white, and blue represent bravery, purity, and loyalty, respectively.

Texas flag

The bluebonnet (Lupinus subcarnosus) was designated the official state FLOWER on March 7, 1901. On March 8, 1971, the original enabling act was amended to include L. texensis (which is native to Texas) and "any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded."

bluebonnet

Bluebonnets was designated the official state FLOWER SONG in 1933. The song was written by Chappell Hill residents Julia D. Booth and Lora C. Crockett, who were unhappy with the official state song because its lyrics include no mention of bluebonnets.
The Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) was designated the official state FLYING MAMMAL on May 25, 1995.

Mexican free-tailed bat

Thanks to the efforts of Wayne and Betty Brasell of Lubbuck, the square dance was designated the official state FOLK DANCE on May 30, 1991.
The cowboy boot was designated the official state FOOTWEAR on June 15, 2007, thanks to the efforts of Social Studies teacher Kay Pechacek and her 7th grade students at Bleyl Middle School in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Houston, Texas.

cowboy putting on cowboy boots

Around 1929 a mutation on a single grapefruit tree became the Texas Ruby Red variety, which received the first patent ever awarded to a grapefruit, and which was designated the official state FRUIT on May 17, 1993.

Texas ruby red

Texas blue topaz, found in the Llano uplift area in Central Texas, especially west to northwest of Mason, was designated the official state GEM on March 26, 1969.

Texas blue topaz

The Lone Star Cut, designed by brothers Dr. Paul W. Worden, Jr. and Gary B. Worden and so called because it reflects the Texas "Lone Star," was designated the official state GEMSTONE CUT on May 25, 1977.

Lone Star Cut

On the recommendation of the Texas Council of Chapters, the Soil Conservation Society of America, and the Texas Section of the American Society of Range Management, sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) became the official state GRASS on April 12, 1971.

sideoats grama

Texas designated three official state HASHTAGS in 2015: #Texas, for Texas in general; #TexasToDo, for Texas tourism; and #txlege, for the Texas Legislature.
The cowboy hat was designated the official state HAT in 2015.

Stetsons

Texas is the largest producer of native pecans in the United States. On June 16, 2001, the pecan was designated the official state HEALTH NUT.

pecans

Thanks to the efforts of 10-year-old Logan Head, the American quarter horse was designated the official state HORSE on February 18, 2009.

American quarter horse

Millions of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) pass through Texas twice a year during their migrations north and south. The monarch was designated the official state INSECT on June 16, 1995.

monarch butterfly

After tabulating the votes of elementary school children, support for the longhorn and the armadillo was evenly divided, so the State Legislature decided that there should be an official state LARGE MAMMAL AND an official small mammal. The resolution proclaiming such was signed on June 16, 1995, with the Texas longhorn in the former role.

longhorn

Fort Griffin Historic Site (formerly Fort Griffin State Park), near Albany, is home to the official state LONGHORN HERD, a distinction it was given on May 23, 1969.
The maritime museum planned by the Texas Maritime Museum Association, Inc., for Rockport was adopted as the official state MARITIME MUSEUM on May 18, 1987. The museum opened to the public on July 1, 1989.

inside the Texas Maritime Museum in Rockport

"Friendship" became the official state MOTTO in 1930. The name "Texas" is derived from the Caddo word "teyshas," which means "friends" or "allies."
Western swing was recognized as the official state MUSIC on June 17, 2011, thanks to efforts spearheaded by Paula Jungmann of Boerne, with assistance from Dr. Gary Hartman, director of the Music Department of Texas State University in San Marcos. The guitar was designated the official state MUSICAL INSTRUMENT on June 19, 1997.
The chiltepin (Capsicum annuum) registers 100,000 ~ 265,000 in Scoville heat units making it about 20 times as hot than the jalapeņo. It was designated the official NATIVE PEPPER of Texas on June 18, 1997.

chiltepin

Thanks to the efforts of Thomas Adams, botanist and member of the Native Plant Society of Texas, Texas purple sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) was designated the official NATIVE SHRUB of Texas on May 27, 2005.

Texas purple sage

Sopaipilla was designated the official state PASTRY on March 23, 2003. On June 22, 2003, two amendments to the enabling resolution were signed, one adding strudal as another official state pastry, the other setting January 31, 2005 as the expiration date for both designations.

sopaipilla and strudel

As of 2000, Texas ranked first in the nation in the production of jalapeņo peppers (Capsicum annuum). The jalapeņo was designated the official state PEPPER on May 10, 1995.

jalapeno

Pecan was designated the official state PIE in 2013.

pecan pie

The prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.) was designated the official state PLANT on May 25, 1995.

prickly pearcactus

A resolution signed on June 6, 1979 named four official state PLAYS. The Lone Star, by Paul Green, was performed at the Mary Moody Northen Amphitheater at Galveston Island from 1977 to 1989. Texas, also by Paul Green, has been performed annually in Palo Duro Canyon since 1977. Beyond the Sundown, by Kermit Hunter, was held by the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation from 1975 to 1983. Fandangle, created by Robert Nail, has been performed by the citizens of Albany every June since 1938. The western honey bee (Apis mellifera) was designated the official state POLLINATOR in 2015.

western honey bee

Silver has been mined in Texas since the Spanish first colonized the region. Although Texas has never been a leader in silver production, its importance to the state was recognized with its designation as the official state PRECIOUS METAL on June 15, 2003.

silver

The Texas State Railroad went into service in 1896 and has been operating ever since. Thanks to the Friends of the Texas State Railroad, it was designated the official state RAILROAD on June 22, 2003.
Thanks to the efforts of 10-year old Abraham and his younger brother Noah Holland, member of the Horned Lizard Conservation Society, the Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) was designated the official state REPTILE on June 18, 1993.

Texas horned lizard

The Ghostriders, which were formed on August 4, 2001, became the official state RODEO DRILL TEAM on June 15, 2007.
The red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) was designated official state SALTWATER FISH on June 17, 2011.

red drum

The endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) was designated the official state SEA TURTLE on May 10, 2013, thanks to the efforts of 4th-graders at Oppe Elementary School in Galveston, guided by science teacher Katie Blaser.

Kemp's ridley sea turtle

The official Texas State SEAL consists of a star of five points, encircled by an olive and live oak branch, and the words "State of Texas." Although it dates to Texas' admission as a state in 1845, the design was not codified until 1992.

Texas State Seal

The lightning whelk (Busycon perversum pulleyi) was designated the official state SHELL on April 14, 1987.

lightning whelk

Commissioned in 1914, the USS Texas, a New York class battlsehip, served in both World Wars before being decommissioned in 1948. Saved from destruction by a group of Houston businessmen, the ship was reconditioned and placed at San Jacinto State Park in 1995, where it remains today. It was designated the official state SHIP on June 16, 1995.

USS Texas

Brought to Paris in 1857 by the wife of General Sam Bell Maxey, the crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) easily adapted to the Texas landscape. It was designated the official state SHRUB on June 18, 1997.

crape myrtle

The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) was designated the official state SMALL MAMMAL on June 16, 1995, as part of the same resolution designating an official large mammal. Although it was not specified in the resolution, it is assumed that the nine-banded is the specific armadillo being honored since it is the only species native to North America.

Tortilla chips and salsa were designated the official state SNACK on June 22, 2003, thanks to students at Leo Marcell Elementary School in Mission.

tortilla chips and salsa

Texas, Our Texas, by William J. Marsh and Gladys Yoakum Wright, was designated the official state SONG on May 23, 1929. Rodeo was designated the official state SPORT on June 18, 1997.
The pumpkin was designated the official state SQUASH in 2013.

pumpkin

Although it is technically a fossil, petrified palmwood became the official state STONE on March 26, 1969.

petrified palmwood

On June 18, 2005, the Elissa, a square-rigged sailing ship built in 1877, was designated the official state TALL SHIP. The designation came 30 years after the badly deteriorated and much-altered ship had been purchased by the Galveston Historical Foundation.

Elissa

Designed for the Texas Sesquicentennial celebration by June P. Foitik McRoberts, proprietor of the Thistles & Bluebonnets store in Salado, the bluebonnet tartan was designated the official state TARTAN on May 29, 1989.

bluebonnet tartan

The Tejano Music Hall of Fame in Alice became the official state TEJANO MUSIC HALL OF FAME on May 3, 2001. The bolo was designated the official state TIE on June 15, 2007.
The pecan (Carya illinoinensis) was designated the official state TREE on May 20, 1919.

pecan tree

The sweet onion was designated the official state VEGETABLE on May 7, 1997, thanks primarily to State Representative Miguel Wise.

sweet onion

Thanks to the efforts of the American Chuck Wagon Association, the chuck wagon was designated the official state VEHICLE on May 27, 2005.

chuck wagon

The Nymphaea Texas Dawn, created by Ken Landon, owner and manager of San Angelo's International Waterlily Collection at Civic League Park, was designated the official state WATERLILY on June 17, 2011.

Texas Dawn

INTERNET SOURCES
Netstate www.netstate.com
State Symbols USA www.statesymbolsusa.org
Texas State Library and Archives Commission www.tsl.texas.gov

SEE ALSO
Cotton
Texas Longhorn
Silver
Honey Bee
Texas Horned Lizard
Pumpkin

Questions or comments about this page?

The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> Old Northwest >> Gulf States >> Texas

This page was last updated on September 29, 2017.