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Ohio's State Symbols

State FlagOhio’s official flag was adopted by an act of the Ohio Legislature on May 9, 1902. The Ohio burgee, as the swallow-tailed design is properly called, was drawn by John Eisenmann, architect and designer for the Ohio State Pan-American Exposition Commission. The Ohio flag has three red and two white horizontal stripes. At its staff end, in a blue triangular field whose apex is at the center of the middle red stripe, are 17 white, five-pointed stars grouped around a red disc superimposed upon a white circular O.Mr. Eisenmann explained the Ohio flag’s symbolism most aptly: “The triangles formed by the main lines of the flag represent the hills and valleys as typified in the State Seal, and the stripes the roads and waterways. The stars, indicating the 13 original states of the Union, are grouped about the circle which represents the Northwest Territory; and that Ohio was the seventeenth state admitted into the Union is shown by adding four more stars. The white circle with its red center, not only represents the initial letter of Ohio, but is suggestive of it being the Buckeye State.”

CardinalOhio adopted the cardinal as its official bird in 1933. A permanent resident of Ohio, the cardinal is known for its clear, strong song and brilliant red plumage.

Pink CarnationThe red carnation was adopted as Ohio's state flower in 1904 in memory of President William McKinley, who always wore a red carnation in his lapel.

LadybugIn June 1975, the Ohio Legislature declared the common ladybug, officially named the Ladybird Beetle, as the state insect. Indigenous to Ohio, the ladybug is a favorite of children and adults because of its beauty and its helpful instinct to eat other insects that can be harmful to crops and flowers.

Black RacerIn 1995, the General Assembly named the black racer snake as Ohio's official reptile. The black racer snake was adopted because it is native to all 88 Ohio counties and is called the "farmer's friend" because it eats disease-carrying rodents.

Beautiful Ohio“Beautiful Ohio” became the state song in 1969. The music was composed by Mary Earl, and the original lyrics were written by Ballard McDonald. In 1989, the Ohio legislature adopted an amendment to change the words to the song. The new lyrics are the work of Youngstown attorney Wilbert McBride.

White Tail DeerThe Ohio Legislature adopted the white-tailed deer as the state animal in May 1988. The white-tailed deer is the state’s largest game animal and can be found in all of Ohio’s 88 counties.

TomatoTomato juice was adopted as the state beverage in 1965. Ohio leads the country in the production of tomato juice and is second only to California in tomato growing.

TrilobiteOhio’s state fossil is the isotelus, commonly known as the trilobite. This now extinct sea creature existed in Ohio 440 million years ago when salt water covered the state. It was about 14 inches long and resembled the modern horseshoe crab. The largest trilobite fossil was discovered in the Dayton Area in 1919.

FlintFlint, the state gemstone sine 1965, is a smooth hard rock of sedimentary origin. Native Americans used flint to make knives, spear points and arrowheads. Later, Ohio settlers used it for flintlock guns and millstones.

State SealSince its creation in 1803, the Great Seal of the State of Ohio has gone through many changes. The current seal was officially standardized in 1967. In the foreground, a sheath of wheat represents Ohio’s agricultural strength. A bundle of 17 arrows and 17 rays around the sun symbolize that Ohio was the seventeenth state admitted into the Union. Mount Logan and the rising sun signify that Ohio was the first state west of the Allegheny Mountains.

BuckeyeThe Buckeye tree was adopted in 1953 as the state tree. Native to Ohio, it gives us our nickname, “The Buckeye State.” Native Americans compared its likeness with the eye of a buck deer.

TrilliumOhio’s state wildflower, trillium grandiflorum, is commonly known as the large white trillium. The beautiful plant is found in all 88 counties in Ohio, and was adopted as Ohio’s state wildflower in 1987.
Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden
358 North Parkview Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43209