Official language declaring the
state emblems, or symbols can be
found in Arizona law. Individual
photos of state symbols for
reports can be found online at SOS
for Kids, www.azsos.gov
The state’s key enterprises are
symbolized on the Arizona state
seal. In the background is a
mountain range with the sun rising
behind the peaks. At the right side
of the mountain range is a storage
reservoir and a dam. Irrigated
fields and orchards reach into the
foreground, and at the right, cattle
are grazing. To the left, on a
mountainside, is a quartz mill. A
miner with a pick and shovel
complete the symbols on the seal.
The motto “Ditat Deus,” meaning
“God Enriches” is on the banner.
Encircling the seal are the words
“Great Seal of the State of
Arizona” and the year of admission
to the Union, 1912 (Arizona
Constitution, Article 22, Section
20). The secretary of state acts as
the custodian of the great seal –
A.R.S. § 41-121(3).
A copper star rises from a blue
field of honor in the face of a
setting sun symbolizing the state’s
copper industry and continued
growth. The lower half of the flag is
a blue field, the upper half is
divided into 13 equal segments, six
yellow and seven red “rays” (1917
Session Laws, Chapter 7). The flag
was designed by Col. Charles W.
Harris and the first flag was sewn
by Nan Hayden. Blue and gold are
the state colors – A.R.S. § 41-851.
There are Arizona laws on where
the state flag is to be displayed –
A.R.S. § 41-852.
The state flower is the pure white
waxy blossom of the saguaro, the
largest cactus in the United
States. The saguaro blossoms
appear on the tips of the long
arms of the cactus during May
and June. The saguaro blossom
was adopted as the floral emblem
of the Arizona Territory on March
8, 1901, and was confirmed as the
state flower on March 16, 1931 –
A.R.S. § 41-855.
The palo verde, meaning “green
stick”, one of the beautiful trees
of the desert, is the state tree.
The palo verde is found is the
desert and foothill regions of
Arizona. When the trees bloom, in
either April or May, the tree
shimmers in a blaze of
yellow-gold. The palo verde was
adopted as the state tree in 1954
– A.R.S. § 41-856.
Arizona’s state bird, the cactus
wren, is woody-brown with a
speckled breast. A distinctive
white line can be found over each
eye. It is the largest wren in
Arizona, measuring 7-8 inches in
length. Its song is a raucous and
unmusical cha-cha-cha that
sounds like a car engine trying to
turn over. The cactus wren was
designated the state bird on
March 16, 1931 – A.R.S. § 41-854.
Turquoise, the state gemstone, is
a blue-green, waxy-surfaced
stone used for centuries in Native
American jewelry. It is found
throughout the Southwest. It is
composed of hydrous oxide of
aluminum and copper. Turquoise
was approved as the state
gemstone in 1974 – A.R.S. §
The bola tie, which originated in
Arizona, is the official state
neckwear, adopted on August 13,
1971. The bola tie, considered “a
new symbol of the west,” is
usually crafted by silversmiths
and leather makers in many
shapes, sizes, and types.
The silver bola tie adorned with
turquoise is generally considered
the official style – A.R.S. § 41-857.
The newest of state symbols, the
two-tailed swallowtail became the
state butterfly in 2001. This
butterfly has yellow and black
wings with a wing span between
three and a half up to five inches
in length – A.R.S. § 41-860.
The Apache trout is the state fish.
It has a yellowish background
color and pink lateral banding. Its
spots are pronounced and
usually uniformly spaced over the
body. The Apache trout has been
historically found in the
headwaters of the Salt, San
Francisco, and Little Colorado
Rivers. It is a federally threatened
species – A.R.S. § 41-859.
Petrified wood is the state fossil.
Most of the petrified wood in
Arizona can be found in the
Petrified Forest in the northern
part of the state. Petrified wood
was adopted as the state fossil in
1988 – A.R.S. § 41-853.
The Arizona tree frog is the state
amphibian. It is small, usually 3/4
to 2 inches long. The tree frog is
commonly green but can also be
gold or bronze-colored. It sports
a dark stripe that starts at the
snout and runs through the eye
and along its body. The stripe
ends just before the rear legs.
The tree frog was designated the
state amphibian in 1986 – A.R.S.
The ringtail is the state mammal,
It is not really a cat but is related
to the raccoon and coatimundi.
The ringtail is also known as the
ringtail cat, miner’s cat, and
cacomistle. It was designated the
state mammal in 1986 – A.R.S. §
The Arizona ridge-nosed
rattlesnake was the last
rattlesnake to be named by
herpetologists. This snake is
small, rarely weighing more than
3-4 ounces as an adult or
growing longer than 24 inches.
The ridge-nosed rattlesnake
inhabits only the Huachuca,
Patagonia, and Santa Rita
Mountains in the south central
part of Arizona – A.R.S. § 41-859.
Arizona’s state capitol is
Phoenix. Winged Victory is the
name of the statue on top of the
copper dome of the state capitol.
Revised October 2009
Secretary of State’s Office
1700 W. Washington Street, 7th Floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Secretary of State
Visit the state symbols display at the
Arizona Capitol Museum
1700 W. Washington Street
SOS for Kids
SOS for Kids
Secretary of State
Pictures for reports can be downloaded
from our website!
Visit the Arizona Capitol Museum, 1700 W. Washington Street, with your parents to see a NEW exhibit on state symbols!
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