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Lone Star State Symbols: From Bluebonnets to Texas Longhorns

September 12, 2021 Texas

Texas is a the second largest state in the U.S. so it is no surprise that the Lone Star State has more official state symbols than you can stuff in an oversize Stetson.

And yes, the cowboy hat was named the official hat of Texas in 2015 by the 84th Legislature.

It might even surprise some Texas natives, however, that the state now has 76 official symbols, with everything from cobblers to domino games to mushrooms to hashtags getting an official nod from the state legislature.

The Lone Star Flag and the Alamo

While the Lone Star Flag, first adopted by the Congress of the Republic of Texas in 1839, might be the most recognized Texas symbol, along with the Alamo, it is technically the official state flag and not a designated symbol.

Strangely, the Alamo has also escaped official state symbol designation, but the San Antonio treasure is featured on the reverse of the Great Seal of the State of Texas along with:

  • Five-point star
  • Battle of Gonzalez cannon
  • Vince’s Bridge
  • Six flags that have flown over Texas
  • “Texas One and Indivisible” motto
  • “Remember the Alamo” motto.

Very Few Official Texas Symbols in Early 20th Century

Until 1969, Texans had to be content with just six official state symbols:

  • Bluebonnet as state flower (1901)
  • Pecan as the state tree (1919)
  • Mockingbird as state bird (1927)
  • Armadillo as state mammal (1927)
  • “Texas, Our Texas” as state song (1929)
  • “Friendship” as the state motto (1930)
  • “Bluebonnets” as state flower song (1933)

The Armadillo retained its distinction as state mammal until 1995 when the state legislature decided to break up the category into large mammals (Texas Longhorns), small mammals (armadillo) and flying mammals (the Mexican free-tailed bat).

Bluebonnet Flower Became First Texas Symbol

The first Texas symbol to receive official blessing from the state legislature was the native bluebonnet as the “State Flower” in 1901.

Specifically, Lupinus Subcarnosus was designated by Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 10 of the 27th Legislature, edging out the cotton boll and the prickly pear cactus, according to the Bullock Museum.

Of course, people take their flower species seriously so the debate raged on for 70 years on which variety of the Bluebonnet should be the official state flower.

Finally, in 1971 House Concurrent Resolution No. 44 of the 62nd Legislature designated Lupinus Texensis or any other variety of bluebonnet as the official flower symbol of Texas.

Today Texans rejoice each spring when bluebonnets and other wildflowers reappear along the state’s highways and byways.

Modern Legislatures Have Been Symbolically Busy

Almost half of the Texas state symbols have been designated since 2000 with 37 total added.

The 1990s was a busy decade with state legislatures tagging 19 new symbols, including 9 new symbols added by the 75th Legislature alone in 1997.

All told, there have been 62 Texas official symbols added since 1990.

For the record here are the official Texas state symbols, besides the bluebonnet, added since 1969:

  • Air Force: Commemorative Air Forcemicah-boswell-48FZv7fHYhw-unsplash
  • Amphibian: Texas Toad
  • Aquarium: Texas State Aquarium
  • Bison Herd: Texas State Bison Herd at Caprock Canyons State Park
  • Bluebonnet City: Ennis
  • Bluebonnet Festival: Chappell Hill Bluebonnet Festival
  • Bluebonnet Trail: Ennis
  • Bread: Pan De Campo
  • Cobbler: Peach Cobbler
  • Cooking Implement: Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  • Crustacean: Texas Gulf Shrimp
  • Dinosaur: Paluxysaurus Jonesi
  • Dish: Chili
  • Dog Breed: Blue Lacy
  • Domino Game: 42
  • Epic Poem: Legend of Old Stone Ranch
  • Fiber and Fabric: Cotton
  • Fish: Guadalupe Bass
  • Folk Dance: Square Dance
  • Footwear: Cowboy Boot
  • Fruit: Texas Red Grapefruit
  • Garden, Botanical: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
  • Gem: Texas Blue Topaz
  • Gemstone Cut: Lone Star Cut
  • Grass: Sideoats Grama
  • Handgun: 1847 Colt Walker Pistol
  • Hashtag: #Texas
  • Hashtag of Texas Tourism: #TexasToDo
  • Hashtag of Texas Legislature: #txlege
  • Hat: Cowboy Hat
  • Health Nut: Pecan
  • Horse: American Quarter Horse
  • Insect: Monarch Butterfly
  • Knife: Bowie Knife
  • Longhorn Herd: Foundation Herd of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • Mammal, Flying: Mexican Free-Tailed Bat
  • Mammal, Large: Longhorn
  • Mammal, Small: Armadillo
  • Maritime Museum: Texas Maritime Museum
  • Mushroom: Texas Star Mushroom
  • Music: Western Swing
  • Musical Instrument: Guitar
  • Native Pepper: Chiltepin
  • Native Shrub: Texas Purple Sage (Leucophyllum Frutescens)
  • Nickname: The Lone Star State
  • Pastries: Sopaipilla; Strudel
  • Pepper: Jalapeno
  • Pie: Pecan Pie
  • Plant: Prickly Pear Cactus
  • Plays: The Lone Star; Texas; Beyond the Sundown; Fandangle
  • Pollinator: Western Honeybee
  • Precious Metal: Silver
  • Railroad: Texas State Railroad
  • Reptile: Texas Horned Lizard
  • Rodeo Drill Team: Ghostriders
  • Saltwater Fish: Red Drum
  • Sea Turtle: Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle
  • Shell: Lightning Whelk
  • Ship: U.S.S. Texas
  • Shrub: Crape Myrtle
  • Snack: Tortilla Chips and Salsa
  • Sport: Rodeo
  • Squash: Pumpkin
  • Stone: Petrified Palmwood
  • Tall Ship: Elissa
  • Tartan: Texas Bluebonnet
  • 10K: Texas Round-Up 10K
  • Vegetable: Pecan
  • Vehicle: Chuck Wagon
  • Waterlily: Nymphaea Texas Dawn

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