How many of these Florida State symbols can you recognize?
From oranges to sailfish to gators, orange juice and more, here are just a few of the symbols that have come to define the culture, ecosystem and history of the Sunshine State!
16 Florida state symbols
The Florida panther, a subspecies of the native Florida cougar, is a large cat that can grow to be up to 8 feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds! This elusive creature is an endangered species, with only an estimated 100-120 individuals remaining in the wild.
The northern mockingbird is a common sight in Florida, where it can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields and even backyards. This gray bird is a mimic, and it can imitate the songs of other birds as well as other sounds like car alarms and chainsaws.
Though the state is no longer the top orange producer in the nation (thanks, California), citrus continues to play a major role in Florida’s economy. What better way is there, then, to celebrate the citrus fruit than by making it the state beverage?
Spoiler alert: this is not the only time the orange appears on this list!
Named for the yellow and black stripes across its wings, this species of butterfly is a common sight around native flowers and gardens across the state.
In the early spring months between February and March, Florida’s orange orchards explode with blankets of delicate white flowers. These flowers are both beautiful and fragrant, and if you’re lucky enough to pass by any of these orchards then you’re sure to get a good sniff of these sweet scented blossoms!
Gone fishing recently? Then you’re certainly familiar with this prize catch! Anglers around lakes, rivers, ponds and creeks all over Florida seek out this freshwater fish, which grows larger here than it does in states further north.
Moonstone is a type of feldspar that is found in Florida and is a popular choice for handmade jewelry all over the state.
Found in saltwater bays, freshwater rivers, brackish coastal waters and estuaries all over Florida, these gentle herbivores are some of the most endangered marine mammals in the entire country — so count yourself lucky if you get a glimpse of one!
After having been an unofficial symbol of the state for years, the American alligator finally became Florida’s official reptile in 1987.
Though the iconic creature held a spot on the endangered species list for many years due to illegal hunting, by the time it was made an official symbol its numbers had recovered enough to be removed from the list!
Named for their tall sail-like dorsal fin, the Atlantic sailfish inhabits waters all around Florida and is a popular prize for saltwater anglers. These fish, which grow up to seven feet long, use their long, pointed snouts to slash and temporarily immobilize smaller fish like sardines, anchovies and mackerel.
Did you know that dolphins are, technically, a type of whale?
Yes! Dolphins, as well as whales and porpoises, belong to the order Cetacea, a classification that contains animals with a fully aquatic lifestyle, a largely carnivorous diet and using an up-and-down movement of their tail to propel themselves forward.
Florida is one of the largest loggerhead turtle nesting areas in the world, with the state’s beaches hosting hundreds of the massive turtles each year. Fully grown adults reach lengths of up to 7 feet long and can weigh up to 350 pounds!
The horse conch (Strombus gigas) is a large sea snail that is found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. It’s commonly found on beaches all over the state and is a popular choice for collectors.
Florida is home to one of the largest coral reefs in the world, so it makes sense that the colorful mineral has a place on the list of official state symbols!
Coral itself is made of both living creatures and mineral substances. Tiny creatures called polyps excrete limestone upon which they live, creating the iconic skeletal structures that we see when snorkeling and swimming all over the east coast of the state.
Agatized coral is regular coral that, after a long enough time, gets transformed from limestone to quartz when the silica in the seawater hardens. This process doesn’t happen overnight — rather, it takes between 20-30 million years of sitting at the bottom of the ocean for the entire coral to harden!
Drive anywhere in Florida and you will see one or more of these iconic sabal palms — you’ll even see it on the state seal! It’s not only a pretty landscaping piece, though: the tree has been used for food and medicine for hundreds of years!
The Coreopsis genus of flowers contains about 75-80 different species, each of which are native to the Eastern Americas and grow naturally in fields and along roadsides.
Florida has used the colorful, daisy-like flowers from this genus as part of roadside beautification projects dating back to the 1960s, since they provide resources for native pollinators while also reducing landscaping costs!
If you live anywhere near our luxury South Florida apartments, then be sure to keep an eye out for these state symbols next time you’re out swimming, hiking, camping and driving around the state!
Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/PublicDomainPictures