If you live in or near our luxury Chicago apartments, how many of these can you recognize and how many will surprise you?
27 Illinois-isms that were made official
IL State Amphibian
Eastern tiger salamander
The eastern tiger salamander is a small, colorful amphibian that is native to the eastern United States. Boasting a black body with bright orange spots, it’s found in forests, wetlands and backyards all over Illinois. Though small and seemingly inconsequential, these salamanders play a large role in keeping insect and mosquito populations at bay.
IL State Animal
Found all over the state from backyards to meadows to forests, lake shores and more, the white-tailed deer is a common sight for Illinois residents in both urban and country settings.
IL State Artifact
The pirogue is a type of canoe that was used by Native Americans in the Great Lakes Region. Built from a single tree, this hollowed-out log canoe was used for hunting, fishing and transportation all over Illinois.
IL State Bird
Especially noticeable in the snow-blanketed winter wonderland, this bright red cardinal is a common sight in backyards and parks all over the central and eastern portions of the United States.
IL State Dance
The square dance is a traditional American folk dance that has roots in Irish, Scottish, Spanish, French and English traditional dancing. And, since Illinois is such a melting pot of all those heritages, it’s the perfect dance to represent the state’s diverse history!
IL State Exercise
Cycling is a popular pastime in Illinois, especially with all those long, scenic trails across the state. It became the official state exercise in 2018.
IL State Fish
The bluegill is a popular freshwater game fish that is native to North America. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, it’s also often referred-to as “bream” or “brim”.
IL State Grain
No surprise there, huh?
IL State Flower
Illinois shares this flower with three other states — New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin — who also call the violet their state flower.
The delicate flower can be found in meadows, lawns, woodlands and wetlands all over the state, appearing in gorgeous purples, whites, yellows and blues of all shades.
IL State Fossil
The Tully monster is a strange and mysterious fossilized species that, as of this writing, has only been found in ancient river beds in Illinois.
The Tully monster is thought to have lived in the Pennsylvanian period about 300 million years ago, long before the Great Lakes were ever formed and when dinosaurs roamed freely across the lands and waters of North America. The squid-like fish-like shark-like creature was first discovered in 1958, and has since been the topic of great conversation within the paleontological world.
IL State Fruit
Gold Rush apple
Elementary school students in Woodlawn chose this delicious fruit to represent the state after a successful lobby back in 2007.
IL State Insect
The monarch butterfly is a common backyard butterfly that is known for its vibrant orange and black colors and its annual migration across the continent.
IL State Microbe
Yup, you read that right!
Penicillin rubens is the first species of the genus Penicillium known to have produced the antibiotic we know as penicillin — the life-saving antibiotic discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928.
IL State Mineral
Fluorite comes in many different colors, despite the fact that the mineral itself is colorless. The calcium and fluorine that make up the base of this soft mineral is clear, but other elements that get trapped in the mineral give each batch of rocks its own color.
IL State Pet
Shelter dogs and shelter cats
What a great way to show appreciation and love to all the shelter animals and, of course, the hard-working shelter workers who dedicate themselves to finding these sweet animals their own forever home!
IL State Prairie Grass
The big bluestem is a tall, prairie grass that is native to Illinois and was, at one point, the most abundant grass in the state’s prairies. It’s also often called “turkey-foot” for the three-fingered flowers that grow out of the top of the stem.
IL State Pie
The Morton region of Illinois is famous for its pumpkins and pumpkin pie — which is (totally objectively) the best pie ever in the world ever. So, why not make it official?
IL State Reptile
Named for its colorful streaks on its head, neck and shell, the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) became the state’s official reptile in 2005.
IL State Rock
Dolostone is a sedimentary rock that is found in Illinois and is mined for use in roads, ceramics and erosion control.
IL State Snack Food
It only makes sense that the state snack should also come from the state vegetable! And, in 2003, some elementary school students in Joliet helped turn popcorn into an official state symbol!
IL State Snake
The eastern milksnake is a harmless snake with a light brown body and dark brown spots encircled with a thin black band.
Fun fact: the snake is called a “milksnake” because people once thought that it could milk cows!
IL State Soil
Drummer Silty Clay Loam
Loam is a type of soil that is dark, rich and soft, with plenty of nutrients and minerals that make it perfect for growing plants. And, since growing stuff is a pretty big part of Illinois’ economy, this dark, fertile loam from Ford County is pretty important!
IL State Tartan
Officially called the Illinois St. Andrews Society tartan, this official weave was designated a state symbol back in 2012. The blue and white colors represent the Scottish flag and the Illinois State flag, while the streaks of red add a touch of patriotism to create an overall red-white-and-blue color scheme.
IL State Theater
The Great American People Show
The Great American People Show was a nonprofit theater show that ran for two decades in the 1980s and 1990s, putting on plays about American history and the life of Abraham Lincoln. Today, the site is called Theater in the Park and is located in New Salem.
IL State Tree
The white oak is a versatile tree. The acorns can be used to feed animals and people, the wood was used to make boats, fences and homes, and the live trees provide shelter to a wide range of animals and birds all over the state.
IL State Vegetable
Sweet corn is the sweetest of all corns, and as such deserves a sweet spot on the official Illinois State Symbols list!
IL State wildflower
Milkweed flowers are important for pollinators like butterflies and bees who visit the delicate purple flowers to find nectar. The plants and leaves bleed a milky white substance when broken which, unfortunately, is poisonous to most humans and animals.
Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/Charlottees