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Other Utah Symbols

Motto: Industry

“Industry" officially became the State Motto on March 4, l959. "Industry is associated with the symbol of the beehive. The early pioneers had few material resources at their disposal and therefore had to rely on their own "industry" to survive. The word "industry" appears on both the State Seal and the State Flag.

Nickname: The Beehive State

Tree: Aspen

Former state tree: The blue spruce (Picea pungens Engelm) was chosen by the Utah State Legislature in 1933 to be the state tree. The tree is found in the Wasatch and Uinta mountains at elevations between 6,000 to 11,000 feet. It can be transplanted successfully and is widely used as an ornamental tree. Its foliage is generally silvery blue in color and has the ability to withstand temperature extremes.

The Blue Spruce as the Utah state tree was replaced with the Aspen on March 25th, 2014.

Animal: Rocky Mountain Elk

The Rocky Mountain elk, Cervus canadensis, became the official state animal in 1971.

Sometimes called wapiti by the Shawnee Indians and the scientists of later times, the American Elk was first named by early English colonists. They were once found over most of the United States and southern Canada, but hunters have killed so many of them that they survive only in regions west of the Rocky Mountains. The largest herds live in Yellowstone Park, on Montana's Sun River, and in Washington's Olympic Mountains. They are also plentiful on most mountain ranges in Utah.

A member of the deer family, the elk lives in close association with the deer and moose throughout much of Utah. Only the male elk carry antlers. They can spread more than 5 feet. Antlers grow during the summer and are shed in the late winter. The cows (female elk) are smaller than the male and do not have antlers. Mature bulls stand up to 60 inches at the shoulder and may weigh over 700 pounds.

They usually eat the grasses. They also eat the twigs and needles of fir, juniper, and trees and shrubs during a harsh winter.

Wolves and cougars are among the natural enemies of elk, as well as bear and coyotes that look for calves and sick animals.

Emblem: Beehive

The beehive became the official state emblem on March 4, 1959. Utahns relate the beehive symbol to industry and the pioneer virtues of thrift and perseverance. The beehive was chosen as the emblem for the provisional State of Deseret in 1848 and was maintained on the seal of the State of Utah when Utah became a state in 1896.

Fish: Bonneville Cutthroat Trout

The cutthroat trout Salmo clarki, has 15 recognized subspecies, one of which is the Bonneville Cutthroat. All cutthroat trout have a “cut,” a patch of orange or red on the throat and they differ from the rainbow trout because they have basibranchial (hyoid) teeth in their throat between the gill arches, they typically have longer heads and jaws than the rainbow and often times can be distinguished from the rainbow by their larger spots. The Bonneville Cutthroat is native to Utah and was important to the Indians and the Mormon pioneers as a source of food.

Dance: Square Dance

In 1994, the Utah State Legislature designated Square Dancing to be the state folk dance of Utah. The Utah Code states “...square dancing means the folk dance which is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers, and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, and heritage dances”.

The Mormon Pioneers loved to dance and they participated in wholesome entertainment to escape the rigors of the harsh frontier life.

Andrew Love Neff, in his book History of Utah 1847-1869, says “The Mormons love dancing... almost every third man is a fiddler, and every one must learn to dance. In the winter of 1854-1855, there were dancing schools in almost every one of the nineteen school houses, and necessarily so much more attention to dancing involved so much less attention to study.” He went on to say “Let it be remembered that only square dances were indulged in, that the gatherings were opened and closed with prayer, and that preachments were often interspersed with dancing, a happy combination of religion with pleasure and enjoyment...”

The early British traveler, Richard Burton, noted that everyone danced including The Prophet, the Apostles, the Bishops which lent a highly cultural value and worth, and of course it did bring young women and young men together in a social setting which might result eventually in marriage.

In the mid 1990s an attempt was made to pass a bill in the U.S. Congress to designate square dancing as the national folk dance. However, the United States has designated only five national symbols, the flag, the Great Seal, the national anthem, the bald eagle, and the American rose; the square dance didn't stand a chance! But, having failed on a national level, contemporary square dancers have attempted to coordinate efforts across the U.S. to have square dancing declared the state folk dance of all fifty states.

Fossil: Allosaurus

The allosaurus was designated the State Fossil in 1988. More allosaurus specimens have been found in two of Utah's quarries than any other dinosaur. Sixty individuals, from juveniles to adults, were found at one site in Utah.

There are different meanings of the word allosaurus, "Different Lizard" and "Strange Reptile", are two examples. Allosaurus was a carnosaur, one of the groups of theropod meat-eaters. This animal was large and probably too bulky to move at speed over any distance, however, the large sauropods and stegosaurs on which it fed were not fast-moving themselves. It measured 16.5 ft. in height and 39 ft. in length and its skull more than 3 ft. long; its jaws were lined with serrated, back-curved teeth and it weighed in at about 4 tons.

Fruit: Cherry

House Bill HB33, which designated the cherry as the official state fruit in 1997, was sponsored by Rep. Fred Hunsanker, R-Logan; the 2nd graders at Millville Elementary School in Millville, Utah were responsible for presenting the new state fruit. Thank you to the school children for researching the subject and gathering the following information.

The Millville Elementary School children selected fruit as their choice to support as a new state symbol and chose the apple, peach, and cherry as candidates. After compiling some basic information concerning each of these fruits and their economic impact upon Utah and polling elementary schools throughout the state, the cherry came out the strong leader.

Both sweet and tart or pie cherries are grown in Utah; the average yearly cherry sales for the past 5 years was $5,564.600. Utah is the second largest tart cherry producing state in the nation and fifth in the nation in the production of sweet cherries. No other state ranks in the top five in both categories. About 2 billion cherries are harvested yearly and approx. 4,800 acres of agricultural land is used for cherry production. Cherries are grown in Utah, Box Elder, Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, and Washington counties. The cherries are sold as fresh fruit, to canneries to make pies, brined as maraschino cherries or dried.


Another interesting fact, submitted to the Millville Elementary School children, is that cherry trees were sent to Utah by the Japanese following World War II. They surround the capitol building in Salt Lake City. The cherry tree is a symbol of friendship to the Japanese.

Gem: Topaz

The Topaz became the State Gem in 1969. It is a semiprecious gem found in Beaver, Juab and Tooele counties of Utah. Small perfect cyrstals are found with quartz, hematite, bixbyite, garnet, pseudobrookite, amethyst, cristobalite, durangite, cassiterite and red beryl in cavities in rhyolite on Thomas Mountain, Juab County.

This hard gem is an aluminum fluorisilicate and is next in hardness to carborundum and diamonds (two of the hardest natural minerals around). Until the 1950s, topaz was generally known as a yellow or golden gemstone. Since then, routine radiation and heat treatment of pale-colored topaz to turn it blue has changed the modern public's perception of this gem. Constructed of atoms of aluminum, silicon, fluorine, and oxygen, topaz usually is colorless to pale blue or yellow -- although pink stones can be produced by heating the golden brown topaz from Ouro Preto, Brazil.

Thomas Range topaz obtained their color from natural radiation during their formation in vent pipes which trapped volatile gases in cavities within the host rhyolites. When unearthed they glow with a vibrant sherry color and with exposure to direct sunlight for awhile will generally turn clear. The sunlight (also UV radiation) reacts with the color centers in the topaz crystal structure displacing electrons which in turn change the color. However, some locations do produce topaz that fade to a beautiful pink color. Some topaz are “tougher” than others and do not have as weak a cleavage plane as the Thomas Range topaz which usually they cleave with a flat top. A favorite location for the mineral collectors and rockhounds is called “The Cove” on the southern end of the Thomas Range.

Wear topaz only if you wish to be clear-sighted: legend has it that it dispels all enchantment and helps to improve eyesight as well! The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz was also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink. Its mystical curative powers waxed and waned with the phases of the moon: it was said to cure insomnia, asthma, and hemorrhages.Topaz is the birthstone of November.

The topaz specimen pictured is from the Maynard Claims, Juab County and is about 3 inches tall. Photo of this Utah born topaz courtesy of Walter Mroch, Gem and Mineral Exploration Company, co-author of “A Field Guide to Topaz and Associated Minerals of the Thomas Range, Utah.”

Grass: Indian Rice Grass

Indian ricegrass, Oryzopsis hymenoides, a native perennial bunchgrass, was officially recognized as the Utah State Grass in 1990. The Society for Range Management's Utah Section began campaigning for a state grass in the mid-1980s and after studying many species the field was narrowed to four candidates: Indian racegrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, galleta grass, and Great Basin wildrye. Indian ricegrass was then selected as the favorite. The state grass bill was introduced by Senator Alarik Myrin, a member of the Society, in 1989. It was also adopted as Nevada's state grass in 1977.

This grass is a fine addition to any xeriscape and will grow quite large if given the room. The open, spangled appearance when in flower or fruit is very attractive, especially in backlight. In the past, the grass was used as a food staple by the Indians especially when the corn crop failed. Seed of the ricegrass was gathered and ground into meal or flour and made into bread.

Insect: Honey Bee

The honey bee, Apis mellifera, became the official state insect in 1983 through the lobbying efforts of a fifth grade class. The honey bee is significant in Utah history, as Utah was first called by its Mormon settlers, "The Provisional State of Deseret," a Book of Mormon word meaning honey bee.

Song: Utah, This Is The Place

The 2003 Utah State Legislature voted to change the state song from “Utah, We Love Thee” to “Utah, This is the Place.” Utah's original state song was then designated as the Utah State Hymn in House Bill HB223. Rep. Dana Love, R-Syracuse, sponsored the bill at the behest of the Cook Elementary School class in Syracuse who, as quoted in article from the Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, February 28, 2003, “...they didn't like the current state song, Utah We Love Thee, that it wasn't very much fun to sing.” The Cook Elementary School fourth-graders sang it to Utah senators before they voted on the change.

In 1996, Sam and Gary Francis wrote “Utah, This Is The Place” for Utah's centennial celebration. Since then, the song has grown in popularity with children, especially among fourth-graders who learn it as part of their study of Utah history. There was some doubt if “Utah, This Is The Place” could become the Utah State Song since Sam and Gary Francis would hold copyright to the new state song, and gain royalties every time it was sung. Rep. Gordon Snow, R-Roosevelt asked Rep. Dana Love and she wasn't sure of the answer, but someone, later identified as one of the composers, in the Legislative gallery shouted out “yes! when Snow asked if the copyright would be given up. The House adopted the tune. (according to an article appearing in the Salt Lake Tribune, Thursday, February 13, 2003).

Vegetable: Spanish Sweet Onion

The Spanish Sweet Onion was named the state vegetable in the 2002 General Session of the Utah State Legislature, S.B. 136. Senator Bill Wright, R-Elberta, a dairy farmer, sponsored the measure and students from Lone Peak Elementary School were the driving force behind this bill.

Onion farms can be found in Davis, Weber and Box Elder counties, taking up about 2,500 acres. Onions are a $9 million business in Utah and these counties grow about 100 million pounds of onions each year. Utah State University's Agriculture Experiment Station in Logan has an “onion specialist” who studies the vegetable and believes it may help prevent cancer, heart attacks and strokes (it naturally thins the blood) as well as being tasty and only 65 calories per cup!

There was stiff competition at the Capitol from the Realms of Inquiry School students, supported by Rep. Jackie Biskupski, who backed the sugar beet as Utah's vegetable. A compromise was reached; plans to designate one or the other was merged into a single bill and the sugar beet was declared the historical state vegetable and the onion the contemporary state vegetable.

Flag: State Flag

The Legislature of Utah by an act, approved April 3, 1896, provides for the State seal and specifies: "That 'The Great Seal of the State of Utah' shall be two and one-half inches in diameter, with the following device inscribed thereon: "In the center thereof a shield, with the American eagle with outstretched wings perched thereon; the top portion of said shield thereof pierced by six arrows; across the shield, below the arrows, the word 'Industry' appears, and beneath the word 'Industry' a beehive, on either side of which are growing sego lilies. Directly below the beehive are the figures '1847,' and on either side of said shield is our National flag. Encircling all, near the outer edge of said Seal, beginning at the lower left hand portion and ending at the lower right hand portion thereof, are the words, 'The Great Seal of the State of Utah,' at the base are the figures '1896'."

Each state in the country has customarily adopted a state Flag. Since the colonial Days of 1775 each state designed their flags to help distinguish the ideas and tradition of that particular state. The original Utah State Flag was adopted by the State Legislature in 1896 and revised in 1913. The beehive on the shield stands for hard work and industry.

The date 1847 is the year the Mormons came to Utah. A bald eagle, the United States national bird, perches atop the shield and symbolizes protection in peace and war. The sego lily is a symbol of peace and a U.S. flag appears on each side, symbolizing Utah's support to the nation. The Utah State Flag, as we know it today, was originally designed for the battleship Utah in 1912. It was later made the official flag of Utah when Governor William Spry signed House Joint Resolution I in 1913.

Tartan: Centennial Tartan

The Utah Centennial Tartan shall have a pattern or repeating-half-sett of white-2, blue-6, red-6, blue-4, red-6, green-18, red-6, and white-4 to represent the tartan worn anciently by the Logan and Skene clans, with the addition of a white stripe. The tartan honors the first Scots known to have been in Utah and those Utahns of Scottish heritage. The Lieutenant Governor shall register the tartan with the United States branch of the Scottish Tartans Authority in Skippack, Pennsylvania, 19474.

*The first American of Scottish descent who left a permanent mark upon Utah was Ephraim Logan. Logan was a mountain man who visited Cache Valley in northern Utah, and named the river that ran through the valley after his ancestral Scottish clan in 1824. When the settlers came to Cache Valley the settlement was called after the Logan River. A year after Logan's visit, Hudson Bay Company Cmdr., (out of Fort Vancouver, Oregon) Peter Skene Ogden, a fur trapper, and great explorer of the West, came to a place he called New Valley. He had in his company 70 trappers with wives and children. Ogden wrote, "I only wish we could find a dozen spots equal to it (later called Ogden)." Also in 1824, came another Scott explorer, Charles MacKay, also of the mountain-man genre. He recorded in his journal, of standing on a mountain and seeing the Great Salt Lake.

The Logan tartan was one of the original 19 tartans of Scotland in 1819, recorded in the weave book of Wilson & Son of Bannockburn. The Logans discarded the sett in the 1830s and was adopted by the Skenes in the 1850s until they discarded it during the 1880s. Utah's tartan resurrected this sett of Red, Green and Blue, and added a white strip for differening. It is very symbolic.

During the 1996 Utah Legislative session, SB-13 was suggested by Garry Bryant, KdeB, KCR, SC, and the tartan designed by Dr. Philip D. Smith, Jr., FSA Scot, FSTS, of Narvon, PA., with the bill sponsored by Senator LeRay McAllister of Orem. Governor Michael Leavitt signed it into law on February 28th.

Logo: Centennial Logo & Slogan

This logo was used for the 1996 Utah Centennial along with the slogan “ This Is Still The Right Place.” The logo originated from a statewide contest in 1989 from a design submitted by Danny Christopherson, a sophomore at Provo High School. The slogan is an expansion of Brigham Young's famous statement “This Is The Place” when the pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. The Utah Centennial Commission reserves copyright authorization on the logo and slogan.

Mineral: Mineral

Copper (chemical symbol, Cu) was selected by early state leaders to top the dome of the Utah State Capitol. It was selected in 1994 as the State Mineral for the Beehive State. Utah is one of the leading copper producing areas of the world. The larges open pit copper mine in the world is located in Bingham Canyon near Salt Lake City.

copper