Indiana State Symbols and Emblems

The State Bird

[State Bird, Cardinal] [State Bird, Cardinal]

The cardinal (Richmondena cardinalis) was adopted as the state bird by the 1933 Indiana General Assembly. The male is bright red; the female is brown with dull red crest, wings and tail. The birds remain in Indiana year round and nest in thickets of brambles or low saplings. The eggs are bluish-white with brown markings.

The State Flower

[State Flower, Peony] [State Flower, Peony]

The peony (Paeonia) was adopted as the state flower by the 1957 Indiana General Assembly. From 1931 to 1957, the zinnia was the state flower. The peony blooms the last of May and early June in various shades of red and pink and also in white; it occurs in single and double forms. No particular variety or color was designated by the General Assembly. The flower is cultivated widely throughout the state and is extremely popular for decorating gravesites for Memorial Day.

The State Tree

[State Tree, Tulip Tree] [State Tree, Tulip Tree]

The tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), also known as yellow poplar, was adopted by the 1931 Indiana General Assembly. The tree attains great height and can be found throughout the state. The leaf is distinctive (it appears in the border of the state seal), and the lovely, bell-shaped, greenish-yellow flowers appear in May or June. The soft white wood has many uses.

The State Seal

[The State Seal]

Versions of the pioneer scene have been used on Indiana seals since territorial days. They are found on official papers as early as 1801. Both the 1816 and 1851 Constitutions provided for a seal to be kept for "official purposes." The 1963 Indiana General Assembly gave legal sanction to the design and provided an official description:

"A perfect circle, two and five eighths inches in diameter, enclosed by a plain line. Another circle within the first, two and three eighths inches in diameter enclosed by a beaded line, leaving a margin of one quarter of an inch. In the top half of this margin are the words 'Seal of the State of Indiana.'

At the bottom center, 1816, flanked on either side by a diamond, with two dots and a leaf of the tulip tree [the state tree], at both ends of the diamond. The inner circle has two trees in the left background, three hills in the center background with nearly a full sun setting behind and between the first and second hill from the left.

There are fourteen rays from the sun, starting with two short ones on the left, the third being longer and then alternating, short and long. There are two sycamore trees on the right, the larger one being nearer the center and having a notch cut nearly halfway through, from the left side, a short distance above the ground. The woodsman is wearing a hat and holding his ax nearly perpendicular on his right. The ax blade is turned away from him and is even with his hat.

The buffalo is in the foreground, facing to the left of front. His tail is up, front feet on the ground with back feet in the air -- as he jumps over a log.

The ground has shoots of bluegrass, in the area of the buffalo and woodsman."

The State Flag

[Indiana State Flag]

Indiana State Flag

The state banner was adopted by the 1917 Indiana General Assembly as part of the celebration of the state's 1916 centennial, after a competition sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The prize-winning design was submitted by Paul Hadley of Mooresville, Indiana, a respected Hoosier artist.

The torch in the center stands for liberty and enlightenment; the rays represent their far-reaching influence. The official description in the Indiana Code explains the rest of the symbolism:

"The field of the flag shall be blue with nineteen stars and a flaming torch in gold or buff. Thirteen stars shall be arranged in an outer circle, representing the thirteen original states; five stars shall be arranged in a half circle below the torch and inside the outer circle of stars, representing the states admitted prior to Indiana; and the nineteenth star, appreciably larger than the others and representing Indiana shall be placed above the flame of the torch."

The State Earth Symbol

Salem Limestone

The State Motto

"The Crossroads of America"

Adopted by the 1937 Indiana General Assembly

The State Nickname

"The Hoosier State"

See "Facts and Statistics about Indiana" in the Menu.

The State Song

"On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away," written by Terre Haute native Paul Dresser and dedicated to 14-year-old Mary E. South of Terre Haute, whom Dresser had never met, is the state song of Indiana. First published in July 1897, the song was adopted as the official state song on March 14, 1913, by the Indiana General Assembly.

Paul Dresser was the brother of noted Hoosier writer Theodore Dreiser. Paul supposedly was so scandalized by his brother's frank writings that he changed his name from Dreiser to Dresser.

The following are the lyrics to the song:

Play The Music!

Alternative content

"On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away" by Paul Dresser

'Round my Indiana homestead wave the cornfields,
In the distance loom the woodlands clear and cool,
Oftentimes my tho'ts revert to scenes of childhood,
Where I first received my lessons - nature's school.
But one thing there is missing in the picture,
Without her face it seems so incomplete,
I long to see my mother in the doorway,
As she stood there years ago, her boy to greet.

Oh, the moonlight's fair tonight along the Wabash,
From the fields there comes the breath of new-mown hay,
Through the sycamores the candle lights are gleaming,
On the banks of the Wabash, far away.

Many years have passed since I strolled by the river,
Arm in arm, with sweetheart Mary by my side,
It was there I tried to tell her that I loved her,
It was there I begged of her to be my bride.
Long years have passed since I strolled thro' the churchyard.
She's sleeping there, my angel, Mary dear,
I loved her, but she thought I didn't mean it,
Still I'd give my future were she only here.

Since we'll listening to music, how about this all time favorite.

Play The Music!

Alternative content

Written in 1917, Words by Ballard MacDonald, Music by James Hanley

I have always been a wand'rer, Over land and sea.
Yet a moonbeam on the water, Casts a spell o'er me.
A vision fair I see, Again I seem to be.

Back home again in Indiana
And it seems that I can see
A gleaming candlelight Still shining bright
Through the sycamores, for me
The new mown hay Sends all its fragrance
From the fields I used to roam
When I dream about the moonlight On the Wabash
Then I long for my Indiana home.

Fancy paints on mem'ry's canvas,
Scenes that we hold dear
We recall them in days after,
Clearly they appear.
And often times I see, A scene that's dear to me.

Back home again in Indiana
And it seems that I can see
A gleaming candlelight
Still shining bright
Through the sycamores, for me
The new-mown hay
Sends all its fragrance
From the fields I used to roam
When I dream about the moonlight
On the Wabash
Then I long for my Indiana home.

My, that sure were pretty! Let's spice it up some-

Play The Music!

Alternative content

I know, how about the "Big Band" sound?

Play The Music!

Alternative content

Other Official Items

Poem: "Indiana," by Arthur Franklin Mapes of Kendallville, adopted by the 1963 General Assembly
See "State Poem" in the Menu

River: Wabash River, adopted by the 1996 General Assembly

Stone: Limestone, adopted by the 1971 General Assembly

Official Language: English, adopted by the 1984 General Assembly


Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Indiana State Parks & Reservoirs

State Parks and Reservoirs inns

"and numerous others"