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Kansas Symbols

Kansas, like other states, recognizes a number of symbols that represent its customs, cultures, and environment. Because Kansas is one of the major wheat production states, it is often referred to as the “Wheat State.” Other symbols, including the buffalo, cottonwood tree, honeybee, Western meadowlark, salamander, sunflower, and box turtle, little blue stem, and Harney loam silt are officially designated as state symbols.

Symbols become official through the legislative process. In 1861 the Kansas Legislature adopted the state seal. In 1986 when the state was celebrating its 125th birthday, a sixth grade class in Caldwell, Kansas, nominated the ornate box turtle to be the state reptile, which started the legislative process.

1861 - State Seal: Seal of Kansas

1903 - State Flower: Wild Native Sunflower

1925 - State Banner: Kansas Banner

1927 - State Flag: Kansas Flag

1935 - State March: "The Kansas March"

1937 - State Bird: Western Meadowlark

1937 - State Tree: Cottonwood Tree

1947 - State Song: "Home on the Range"

1955 - State Animal: American Buffalo

1976 - State Insect: Honeybee

1986 - State Reptile: Ornate Box Turtle

1990 - State Soil: Harney Loam Silt

1992 - State March: "Here's Kansas"

1994 - State Amphibian: Barred Tiger Salamander

2010 - State Grass: Little Bluestem  

2014 - State Fossils: Tylosaurus and Pteranodon


Other popular symbols:

1890s - Kansas: Wizard of Oz

1900s - Kansas: Wheat State, Breadbasket

2005 - State Quarter: Kansas Quarter

2011 - State Stamp: 150 Kansas Stamp

See James H. Nottage and Floyd R. Thomas Jr.'s article from the autumn 1985 Kansas History magazine, "There's No Place Like Home" for more information about the origin of Kansas symbols. Robert Hay discusses the evolution of the state seal in 1861 in his article in the Kansas Historical Collections, volume 8, pages 289-299. For the full text of the current Kansas laws regarding state symbols see the Kansas Statutes Annotated (KSA) chapter 73 and KSA chapter 75.

Entry: Kansas Symbols

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: July 2011

Date Modified: June 2015

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.