Tennessee Symbol

Tennessee Symbols
State Seal
The State Seal
The Roman numerals XVI
signify that Tennessee was
the 16th state to enter
the Union. The plow, the
sheaf of wheat, and a
cotton stalk symbolize the
importance of agriculture.
The riverboat attests to
the importance of river
traffic to commerce.
State Bird
The mockingbird (genus
Mimus polyglottos) was
selected as the state bird
in 1933. One of the finest
singers among North
American birds, it has a
melodious song of its own,
and is especially noted for
its skill in mimicking the
songs of other birds.
State Insects
Tennessee has two official state
insects: the firefly and the
The firefly emits a luminescent
light easily seen on summer
evenings. The light is a natural
form of incandescent light that
man has never completely
The reddish-orange ladybug has
distinctive black spots on each
wing cover. It helps farmers by
controlling insect pests, especially
aphids. In folk medicine, ladybugs
were believed to cure various
diseases such as colic and
State Gem
Tennessee river pearls are
taken from mussels in the
freshwater rivers and
come in various shapes and
colors. Unlike cultured
pearls, which are partially
man-made, these pearls
are totally made by the
mussel. They are 100%
natural pearl all the way
State Capitol
In Tennessee's early history,
four different towns served as
the seat of government: Knoxville,
Kingston, Murfreesboro, and
Nashville. Nashville was chosen as
the permanent capital in 1843.
The capitol was designed by noted
architect William Strickland, who
died during its construction and is
buried within its walls. Marble
quarried in Tennessee was used as
the primary building material. A
magnificent example of Grecian
architecture, the building was
begun in 1845 and completed in
State Flag
Adopted in 1905, the
flag features three
stars representing the
grand divisions of the
state: East, Middle,
and West. The stars
are bound together in
indissoluble unity by
an unending white
State Tree and Flower
The tulip poplar (Liriodendron
Tulipifera) was adopted as
the state tree by the State
Legislature in 1947. The tulip
poplar was chosen because it
was used extensively by the
Tennessee pioneers to
construct their houses, barns,
and other buildings.
The iris (Genus Iridaceae)
was designated as the state
cultivated flower by the
legislature in 1933. While
there are several different
colors among the iris, the
purple iris is commonly
accepted as the state flower.
State Animal
The raccoon (Procyon lotor)
is a furry mammal with a
bushy, ringed tail and a
masklike band of black hair
around its eyes. Raccoons
eat fish and frogs that
they catch in rivers and
streams. They measure
from 30 to 38 inches long
and weigh from 12 to 25
The State Songs
Music is such an integral part of
Tennessee's heritage that there are
five official state songs: My
Homeland, Tennessee ... When It's
Iris Time in Tennessee ... My
Tennessee ... Tennessee Waltz ... and
Rocky Top.
Civil War, Smoky Mountains,
Aquarium, and Grand Ole Opry