Tennessee State Symbols

By Jedidiah McKeehan

If you grew up in Tennessee it is likely you learned about Tennessee’s state flag, flower, and state bird. How do we know these are official state symbols though? Are they written down somewhere? Tennessee Code Annotated 4-1-301 – 4-1-344 lists all manner of official Tennessee symbols. I am guessing you were unaware of the existence of many of them.

Songs – “My Homeland, Tennessee,” “When It’s Iris Time in Tennessee,” “My Tennessee,” “The Tennessee Waltz,” “Rocky Top,” “The Pride of Tennessee,” “Tennessee,” and “Amazing Grace.”

Poem – “Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee,” by Admiral William Lawrence

Slogan – “Tennessee – America at Its Best”

Tree – tulip poplar

Cultivated flower – iris

Insects – firefly, lady bug and honeybee

Rock – limestone

Gem – Tennessee pearl

Folk dance – square dance

Motto – “Agriculture and Commerce”

Commercial fish – channel catfish

Sport fish – small-mouth bass

Game bird – bobwhite quail

Butterfly – zebra swallowtail

Amphibian – cave salamander

Reptile – eastern box turtle

Theatre – the Tennessee Theatre

Horse – Tennessee Walking Horse

Fruit – tomato

Mineral – agate

Beverage – milk

Evergreen tree – eastern red cedar

Botanical garden – University of Tennessee Botanical Gardens

Fife and drum corps – Watauga Valley Fife and Drum Corps

Artifact – “Sandy” – the ancient stone statue discovered in 1939 in Wilson County

Pet – dogs and cats adopted from Tennessee animal shelters and rescues

Plane – Boeing B-17F

Community theater – Oak Ridge Playhouse

Beef festival – Here’s the Beef Festival in Giles County

Buck dance competition – Robert Spicer Memorial Buck Dance Championship

Dog – bluetick coonhound

Nickname – “The Volunteer State


Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties. He works in many areas, including family law, criminal, and personal injury. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.