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"
1993 - State Theater: Jayhawk Theater
1994 - State Amphibian: Barred Tiger Salamander
2010 - State Grass: Little Bluestem
Other popular symbols:
1890s - Kansas: Wizard of Oz
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: July 2016
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.