Indiana has a state flower and tree, noted West Lafayette third grader Kayla Xu. We even have a state pie and state gun. But when it comes to a state insect, she says Indiana draws a long “blaaaaaaank.”
Kayla pointed out Indiana is one of only three states (along with Iowa and Michigan) that has no state insect. In fact, compared to other states, Indiana has few “official” symbols — a state trait for much of its 200 years. For many years, for example, Indiana was the only state without a flag.
Indiana does have a dozen official state emblems, as well as other designated official and unofficial items. The majority of the symbols are officially recognized and created by an act of the Indiana General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. These include:
Seal: A pioneer chopping a tree on the edge of a clearing as a bison flees. It was the state’s first symbol, adopted in 1816 (originally it was the symbol of the Indiana Territory in 1801).
Song: “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away” by Paul Dresser. Adopted in 1913, it was the state’s second symbol.
Flag: The torch represents liberty and enlightenment. The outer circle of 13 stars represents the original 13 states. The stars in the lower semi circle stand for the five states admitted before Indiana. The star directly above the torch symbolizes Indiana. Adopted in 1917 after the centennial design competition won by Paul Hadley of Mooresville.
Tree: Tulip tree, also called the yellow poplar, has a distinctive leaf shape and yellow, bell-shaped flowers. It is a tall tree and grows throughout Indiana. Adopted 1931.
Bird: Cardinal; adopted 1933.
Flower: Peony; adopted 1957.
Motto: “The Crossroads of America.”
River: Wabash River; adopted 1996.
Stone: Limestone. The Indiana variety has been used in buildings such as the Empire State Building and the Pentagon. Adopted 1971.
Pie: Sugar Cream Pie; adopted 2009.
Rifle: Grouseland Rifle, one of the six remaining rifles made by gunsmith John Small in the early 1800s. Adopted 2012.
Aircraft: Republic Aviation P-47 Thunderbolt; adopted 2015.
Be sure to check out these related stories:
- Carrying a Torch: Students continue credible quest to have firefly named state insect
- Proposed insect named for famed New Harmony naturalist
- Oh, Say, can you see if it’s a Say’s Firefly?
- Harnessing the power of the lightning bug
- This firefly shines light on safety
- Waxing poetic in the firefly’s glow
- Create your own mascot; maybe win a plush Louie the Lightning Bug!
Be sure to check out these websites for more information about fireflies: