Home |   For Kids |  Symbols

Oklahoma State Symbols

State Flag

The state flag features an Osage warrior’s shield on a blue background. An olive branch and a calumet, or peace pipe, lay across the shield. Seven eagle feathers decorate the shield. The flag was designed by Louise Funk Fluke and was officially adopted in 1925. In 1941 the word “Oklahoma” was added beneath the shield and in 1988 colors were defined for the background, shield, feathers, crosses, thongs, and calumet. The colors were officially added to the statutes in 2006 (HCR 1110, 1988 OS § 91). Find out more about Louise Funk Fluke in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

The Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma

The state seal was designed by Gabe E. Parker and its elements are described in the Oklahoma Constitution. The seal is circular and features a five-pointed star in the center. Within the star is the basic design of the seal of the Territory of Oklahoma and with the words Labor Omnia Vincit, which means “work conquers all things.” Columbia, a symbol of justice and statehood, stands holding the scales of justice. In front of her, a pioneer farmer and an American Indian stand clasping hands.

Inside the rays of the star are emblems of the Five Tribes. The ray pointing directly upward contains a symbol of the Chickasaw Nation: an Indian warrior holding a bow. The upper-right ray features symbols of the Choctaw Nation: a tomahawk, bow, and three crossed arrows. The lower-right ray features symbols of the Seminole Nation: a village with houses and a factory next to a lake on which a man paddles a canoe. The lower-left ray contains symbols of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation: a sheaf of wheat and a plow. The upper-left ray features symbols of the Cherokee Nation: a seven-pointed star surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves. In the background of the seal, surrounding the main star, are forty-five smaller stars, representing the forty-five states in the Union when Oklahoma became the forty-sixth state. The words “GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA 1907” appear in a circular band around the seal (Okla. Const. art. 6 § 35).

Bison laying in a field

Animal

American Buffalo (Bison bison)

The American buffalo was adopted as the state animal in 1972. The resolution states, “the magnificent animal was native to both the grasslands and woodlands of what is now Oklahoma and was significant in the cultures and ceremonies of many of the Indian tribes who lived in Oklahoma and have passed along their heritage to modern-day Oklahomans” (SCR101, 1972). Buffalo are large mammals with a brown coat, a hump on their shoulders, and shaggy hair around their heads. Buffalo can reach up to 2,000 pounds and stand almost six feet tall. Find out more in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

A raccoon in a tree

Furbearer

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Raccoons are known for their distinctive markings. Raccoons have ringed tails, and dark fur around their eyes, which resembles a mask. The raccoon was named the state furbearer in 1989 (SCR25, 1989).

Game Animal

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

The white-tailed deer has a brown coat in the summer, which turns gray throughout the rest of the year. Males grow large antlers and can weigh more than 200 pounds. The resolution called the white-tailed deer “the most beautiful and prized symbol of Oklahoma wildlife” (SCR24, 1989). You can learn more about deer in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

Heritage Horse

Oklahoma Colonial Spanish Horse

The Oklahoma Colonial Spanish horse was designated the official Heritage Horse in 2014. American Indians brought thousands of Spanish horses to Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears. According to the resolution, “the Oklahoma Colonial Spanish horse, which originated from Spanish horses brought to the Americas with early settlers, is unique in its genetics, history, geography, and contributions to the people of Oklahoma” (SCR34, 2014).

Bird

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)

The scissor-tailed flycatcher was named the state bird in 1951 (25 OS § 98). The bird has a mostly gray body with a white breast and a distinctive forked tail, which can grow up to nine inches long. Find out more about the scissor-tailed flycatcher in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

Raptor

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

A raptor is a bird of prey, which means it feeds on other animals. It is also one of the most common bird species in Oklahoma. The idea to recognize the red-tailed hawk came from ten-year-old Ephraim Bowling from Oklahoma City. The red-tailed hawk became the official state raptor in 2018 (25 OS § 98.17).

Wild Turkey, the state game bird

Game Bird

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

In 2006 the wild turkey was named the official game bird (25 OS § 98.13). Wild turkeys are large birds, and the brightly colored males can weigh more than twenty pounds.

bat in flight

Flying Mammal

Mexican Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)

Mexican free-tailed bats typically make their home in caves and can be found in Oklahoma’s Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area. These bats are dark brown with long, narrow wings. They are called “free-tailed” because the end of their tail extends past the membrane that connects their wings and tail. The Mexican free-tailed bat was named the state’s flying mammal in 2006 (25 OS § 98.11).

Collared Lizard, the state reptile

Reptile

Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)

The collared lizard, also known as the mountain boomer, can grow up to a foot long. The name “collared” comes from the dark bands around the lizard’s neck. Males are brightly colored while females are gray or tan. The 1969 resolution calls the collard lizard “one of the most interesting zoological specimens in Oklahoma” (HCR1009, 1969).

bullfrog in mud

Amphibian

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)

The bullfrog was declared as the state amphibian in 1997. The resolution proclaimed the bullfrog “an integral part of the ecology of Oklahoma and generally represents the importance of all species of amphibians to the environment and our state” (HCR1026, 1997).

Fish

White Bass (Morone chrysops)

The white bass, also known as the sand bass, was adopted as the state fish in 1974 (25 OS § 98.2). According to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, white bass are native to the state and survive on a diet of minnows, shad, crustaceans, and insects.

Black Swallowtail

Butterfly

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

This black swallowtail butterfly is mostly black, with a row of colored spots. Males have yellow markings, while females have yellow and blue accents. The butterfly was adopted in 1996 in a bill that states, “the black swallowtail plays a vital role in the cross-pollination of plant life in Oklahoma, which is a necessary link in the chain which supports our ecology. In addition, the presence of the black swallowtail in Oklahoma not only adds color and beauty to our state but provides enjoyment for our citizens and an opportunity to study and understand the contributions this insect makes to our environment.” (23 OS § 98.5).

Honeybee

Insect

Honeybee (Apis mellifera)

In 1992 the honeybee became the state insect. The resolution described the importance of the insect stating, “the honeybee is critical to crop pollination and plays a vital role in our varied and plentiful food supply” (SCR75, 1992).

Fruit

Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa)

Oklahoma recognized the strawberry in 2005 when fifth-grade students from Skiatook Intermediate Elementary held an election to choose a state fruit. The winner was the strawberry and their teacher, Pam Bell, asked Representative Joe Sweeden to sponsor the bill. The bill passed, naming the strawberry the official state fruit (25 OS § 98.10).

Vegetable

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

Watermelon was adopted as the state vegetable in 2007 (25 OS § 98.15). According to a 2007 fiscal impact statement, Oklahoma produced more than 77 million pounds of watermelon the previous year.

mistletoe

Floral Emblem

Mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum)

Mistletoe is Oklahoma’s oldest symbol, chosen as Oklahoma Territory’s floral emblem in 1893 (25 OS § 92A). Learn more about mistletoe in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

Flower

Oklahoma Rose

The Oklahoma rose is a hybrid tea rose created by Herbert Swim and O. L. Weeks in 1964. Oklahoman Dottie Weissenberger lobbied for more than thirty years to have the Oklahoma rose named as our official state flower. It was finally adopted in 2004 (25 OS § 92).

Wildflower

Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)

The Indian blanket, also known as the blanket flower, is a small, daisy-shaped flower with red petals tipped with yellow. It was named the state wildflower in 1986 (25 OS § 92.1). Learn more about the Indian blanket in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

A redbud tree blooms in front of a house

Tree

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

The redbud is a colorful tree that typically grows twenty to thirty feet tall. The tree is known for its small, dark pink flowers (25 OS § 97, 1937, later moved to 2 OS § 16-69, 2001).
Learn more about the redbud tree in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

Indian Grass

Grass

Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)

Indian grass grows in every county in Oklahoma. This perennial has green blades and golden brown seed heads, and grows three to five feet tall. The 1972 resolution declared Indian grass “has been in the past, and remains today, one of the most productive, palatable and important native grasses in Oklahoma” (SCR72, 1972).

image of Oklahoma’s reddish-brown soil

Soil

Port Silt Loam (Cumulic haplustolls)

In 1987 Oklahoma recognized port silt loam as the official state soil. The resolution calls it “a highly productive soil which can support a wide variety of crops as well as range, pasture, woodlands and native wildlife” which “occurs in more counties in Oklahoma than any other soil type” (HJR1014, 1987).

A barite rose, or rose rock

Rock

Rose Rock (Barite rose)

The rose rock is composed of barite, a common mineral, and sand. Rose rocks, with their red coloring and petal-like shape, are found in only a few locations around the world. In 1968 the rose rock was named the official state rock (25 OS § 98.1). Learn more about rose rocks in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

Acrocanthosaurus Hendrickx

Dinosaur

Acrocanthosaurus atokensis

Acrocanthosaurus atokensis was named the state dinosaur in 2006. Acrocanthosaurus means “high-spined lizard,” and partial skeletons of this dinosaur were excavated in Atoka County, Oklahoma (25 OS § 98.14).

Saurophaganax

Fossil

Saurophaganax maximus

Saurophaganax maximus was named the state fossil in 2000. It was a huge, predatory dinosaur that was larger than the Tyrannosaurus rex. The bill states that “this spectacular dinosaur, the ‘greatest king of reptile eaters,’ once roamed this great land” (25 OS § 98.6).

Crystal

Hourglass Selenite

In 2005 hourglass selenite was named the state crystal (25 OS § 98.8). Selenite is a crystallized form of gypsum that can be found in Oklahoma’s Great Salt Plains. The idea to declare hourglass selenite a state symbol was proposed by students from Bryant and Red Oak elementary schools located in Moore, Oklahoma.

GUSTY, the state cartoon character, with a microphone

Cartoon Character

GUSTY

In 2005 GUSTY was named the state cartoon character (25 OS § 98.9). GUSTY was created by meteorologist Don Woods, who would draw the character during his televised weather reports.

Monument

Golden Driller

The Golden Driller stands in front of the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Permanently installed 1966, the monument is seventy-six feet tall and weighs more than 43,500 pounds. A plaque at the base of the driller reads, “The Golden Driller, a symbol of the International Petroleum Exposition. Dedicated to the men of the petroleum industry who by their vision and daring have created from God’s abundance a better life for mankind.” It was named the state monument in 1979 (SCR23, 1979).

Pin

“OK” pin

The Oklahoma Legislature designated the “OK” pin the official state pin in 1982. The resolution states the pin “shall consist of the letters ‘OK’ with a sky blue replica of the State of Oklahoma imposed over the letters. Inside the replica of the State of Oklahoma shall be a circular rawhide American Indian shield, with the lower half of the shield fringed with pendant eagle feathers, and superimposed on the face of the shield a calumet or peace pipe, crossed at right angles by an olive branch” (SCR36, 1982).


Drink

Milk (SCR2, 1985)

Meal

Chicken-fried steak, barbequed pork, fried okra, squash, cornbread, grits, corn, sausage with biscuits and gravy, black-eyed peas, strawberries, and pecan pie

The Oklahoma Legislature declared April 19, 1988, to be Oklahoma Meal Day, and outlined the elements of the meal (HCR 1083, 1988). Find out more about the state meal in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

Nickname

The Sooner State

Motto

Labor Omnia Vincit, Latin for “work conquers all things.” The phrase was referred to as a motto in the 1893 statute describing the Grand Seal of the Territory of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Constitution also includes the phrase in the description of the state seal but does not officially define it as a motto (1893 § 5991; Okla. Const. 6 § 35).

Flag Day

November 16

In 1968 the legislature designated November 16 official Oklahoma State Flag Day and recommended “that said day be observed by the people of this state by the display of the official flag of the State of Oklahoma and in such other ways as will be in harmony with the general character of the day” (25 OS § 91.3).

Flag Salute

“I salute the flag of the State of Oklahoma. Its symbols of peace unite all people” (HCR1034, 1982)

Colors

Green and White

Green and white were adopted as the state colors in 1915. The colors were suggested by the Ohoyohoma Circle, a group formed by the wives of Oklahoma legislators (25 OS § 93).

Tartan

Oklahoma Tartan

The background color of the tartan is blue. Lines of red, white, black, and gold form the plaid. The Oklahoma tartan was designed by Jerrel Murray and adopted by the legislature in 1999 (HCR1025, 1999).

Western Band

The Sounds of the Southwest (HCR 1053, 1997)

Theater

Lynn Riggs Players of Oklahoma, Inc. (53 OS § 81)

Poem

“Howdy Folks” by David Randolph Milsten (HCR7, 1941)
View Poem

Well, here goes some scribblin’ that’s a little past due,
But I reckon I’m always a-thinkin’ ’bout you.
I’ve been readin’ the papers in my own little way,
And I see where you messed up my last birthday.
Through divine television I caught the dedication
And heard some tributes by a mighty swell nation.
Now that’s a powerful nice shack you built on the hill;
But that’s just like the Sooners, it gives them a thrill.

I never did nuthin’ to cause all that fuss;
And sometimes, folks, I could almost cuss.
But, dern you, I love you, I guess it’s my pride
That chokes me all up and hurts me inside.
I heard Jesse, Irvin, Cohan and Fred
And Amon and Eddie, what nice things they said.
I always called Claremore a big little town,
With guys like Mort Harrison and others around.

I see where Joe Crosson winged there for a day;
Remember him, Wiley? We slept all the way.
But I’ll tell you the part which touched me the most,
And it ain’t like me to speak up and boast.
It was when dear Mary pulled the curtain string
For my act in bronze -- what a homely thing!
But I guess it was sentiment that filled the place,
‘Cause my kids kind of cried and I saw Betty’s face.

God bless my old partner, she held up her head;
and though none of you heard me, she knew what I said.
And I spied Sister Sally with a shy little glance;
She’s all the West means, charm and romance.
Old Jo had a job a-chisslin’ my mug;
Why, I got more wrinkles than a Navajo rug.
So you’re honorin’ Oklahoma with a replica of me–
Move over Sequoyah, for another Cherokee.

Well, much obliged friends, for the money you spent,
And the words that were spoken by our President.
I wish you had erected a memorial to peace;
We’d be happy up here if war talk would cease.
But I ain’t ungrateful, I just can’t see
Such a hullabaloo ’bout a cowboy like me.
Well, so long folks, it’s time to retire;
I got to keep a date with Odd McIntyre.

Percussive Musical Instrument

Drum (25 OS § 98.3)

Musical Instrument

Fiddle

In 1984 a resolution designated the fiddle as the official state instrument, hailing it as “a symbol of the exceptional musical heritage of this state and enjoyed by its citizens” (SCR25, 1984). Read more about fiddling in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

Folk Dance

Square Dance

The 1988 resolution stated, “to show our appreciation for the colorful and exciting entertainment Oklahoma square dancers provide for all Oklahomans we proudly proclaim the Square Dance as Oklahoma's Official State Folk Dance” (SCR111, 1988).

Song

“Oklahoma!” lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, music by Richard Rodgers (25 OS § 94.1) Read more about the musical and our state song in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.
View Lyrics

Brand new state, Brand new state, gonna treat you great!
Gonna give you barley, carrots and pertaters,
Pasture fer the cattle, Spinach and Termayters!
Flowers on the prairie where the June bugs zoom,
Plen’y of air and plen’y of room,
Plen’y of room to swing a rope!
Plen’y of heart and plen’y of hope!

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain,
And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma, ev’ry night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk makin’ lazy circles in the sky.

We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!
And when we say - Yeeow A-yip-i-o-ee ay!
We’re only sayin’ You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma! Oklahoma - O.K.

Children’s Song

“Oklahoma, My Native Land” by Martha Kemm Barrett (25 OS § 94.5)
View Lyrics

As I travel the roads of America, such wonderful sights I can see.
But nothing compares to the place I love;
The perfect home for you and for me.

CHORUS:
Yes, Oklahoma, my native land.
I am proud to say your future’s looking grand.
Yes, Oklahoma, such history.
Ev’ry day you give a gift just for me.

I see a Scissortail Flycatcher cut through the clean air
as mistletoe kisses the branches ev’rywhere.
Redbuds open ev’ry single spring.

I hear a Pow Wow beat the rhythm of the old ways
as oil wells pump back mem’ries of the boom days.
Only Oklahoma has these things.

CHORUS

Perfect home for you.
The perfect home for me.
It’s only Oklahoma for me.

Country and Western Song

“Faded Love” by John Wills and Bob Wills (SCR65, 1988) Learn more about Bob Wills in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.
View Lyrics

As I look at the letters that you wrote to me,
It’s you that I am thinking of.
As I read the lines that to me were so sweet,
I remember our faded love.

CHORUS:
I miss you, Darling, more and more every day
As heaven would miss the stars above.
With every heartbeat, I still think of you
And remember our faded love.

As I think of the past and all the pleasures we had,
As I watch the mating of the dove,
It was in the springtime when you said goodbye.
I remember our faded love.

CHORUS


Folk Song

“Oklahoma Hills” by Woody Guthrie and Jack Guthrie (25 OS § 94.8) Read about Woody Guthrie in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.
View Lyrics

Many a month has come and gone
Since I’ve wandered from my home
In those Oklahoma Hills
Where I was born
Many a page of my life has turned
Many lessons I have learned
And I feel like in those hills
Where I belong

CHORUS:
Way down yonder in the Indian nation
Ridin’ my pony on the reservation
In the Oklahoma Hills where I was born
Way down yonder in the Indian nation
A cowboy’s life is my occupation
In the Oklahoma Hills where I was born

But as I sit here today
Many miles I am away
From the place I rode my pony
Through the draw
Where the oak and black-jack trees
Kiss the playful prairie breeze
And I feel back in those hills
Where I belong

CHORUS

Now as I turn life a page
To the land of the great Osage
In those Oklahoma hills
Where I was born
Where the black oil rolls and flows
And the snow white cotton grows
And I feel like in those hills
Where I belong

CHORUS

Gospel Song

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” by Wallace Willis (25 OS § 94.11) Find out more about Uncle Wallace and Aunt Minerva Willis in The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.
View Lyrics

CHORUS:
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home,
Swing low, sweet chariot;
Comin’ for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see,
Comin’ for to carry me home,
A band of angels comin’ after me,
Comin’ for to carry me home.

CHORUS

If you get there before I do,
Comin’ for to carry me home,
Tell all my friends I’m comin’ too,
Comin’ for to carry me home.

CHORUS

I’m sometimes up and sometimes down,
Comin’ for to carry me home,
But still my soul feels heavenly bound,
Comin’ for to carry me home.

CHORUS

The brightest day that I can say,
Comin’ for to carry me home,
When Jesus washed my sins away,
Comin’ for to carry me home.

CHORUS

Waltz

“Oklahoma Wind” by Dr. Dale J. Smith (SR42, 1982)
View Sheet Music
View Lyrics

In an ancient sunrise, lighting the sky,
men and spirits came riding by on the land that was taken
by you and I in the wind.

The wind kept blowing and moved us with haste.
We devoured this country just for the taste of that land that was theirs,
Lord what a waste in the wind.

CHORUS:
Oklahoma Wind Waltz me back home again, back where a friend is a friend,
Oklahoma Wind

Just a drifting cowboy riding along,
I heard the wind call and I had to belong
to the land that was callin’ and growin’ up strong in the wind.

We waited for the signal to start the race,
all we had to do was to drive our stakes in the land that was willin’
to give us a place in the wind.

CHORUS

Was the year of thirty-five, hardly nothing was left alive
’cept the will of a few that made her survive in the wind.

And now she’s blowin across the plain.
O’er the hills of golden grain, ev’rybody knows she’s alive again in the wind.

CHORUS

Inspirational Song

“I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe (25 OS § 94.14)
View Lyrics

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When your face is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine when that day comes
And I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship You
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Land Run Song

“The Oklahoma Run” by Harold Fletcher (HR1002, 2009)
View Lyrics

It was April twenty-second
in the Spring of ’eighty-nine
There were settlers by the thousands;
they were gathered on the line.
And they came from all directions,
there were wagons by the score
to stake a claim out on the plain.
Here's what they waited for;

CHORUS:
To Run! Run! Run! Run!
In the Oklahoma Run!
Fifty thousand people a waitin’ for the gun!
For Land! Land! Land! Land!
Oklahoma Land!
They came out here to the last Frontier across the Cimeron (sic) to run!

Near two million acres,
not enough to go around.
If he had no transportation
A man’s luck soon ran down.
They could hold ’em back no longer
and at noon they crossed the line.
By horse and train across the plain
to what they hope to find.

CHORUS

It was run!

Rock Song

“Do You Realize??” by The Flaming Lips (EO 20, 2009; expired 2011)
View Lyrics

Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize - we’re floating in space -
Do You Realize - that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize - Oh - Oh - Oh
Do You Realize - that everyone you know
Someday will die -

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize



Image Credits
Redbud tree courtesy of Lou Anella
Indiangrass by Jennifer Anderson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Oklahoma Colonial Spanish horse by Neil Chapman, courtesy of Friends of the Heritage Horse Foundation Herds
Mexican Free-tailed Bat courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department © 2006
Acrocanthosaurus atokensis by Christophe Hendrickx [CC BY-SA 3.0],from Wikimedia Commons
Saurophaganax maximus by Chris Dodds from Charleston, WV, USA (Also RawrUploaded by FunkMonk) [CC BY-SA 2.0], from Wikimedia Commons