State Symbols

Many states have symbols. A symbol can be a thing or object that stands for something. Symbols can paint a picture in your mind about a state. If you use your imagination, you can see Arizona's symbols in the desert or in the mountains. Each symbol was picked to show that Arizona is different from other states.

State Symbol Brochure

Bola Tie

The bola tie is "a new symbol of the west," and is usually hand-made in many different shapes, sizes, and types.

They are fun to wear because you don't have to learn to tie one like a cloth tie!

They just slip up and down on a thin braided rope.

Photo of bola tie

Arizona Tree Frog

Amphibian is an adult word for frogs, toads, and salamanders.

This Arizona Tree Frog is the state amphibian.

It is small, usually 3/4 to 2 inches long, a little larger than the size of a quarter.

Most are green but some can be gold colored. Can you see a dark stripe that starts at its nose and runs through the eye? The stripe ends just before the back legs.

Photo of an Arizona Tree Frog

Cactus Wren

Arizona's state bird, the cactus wren, is brown with a speckled chest.

If you look close you can see white lines over each eye.

They grow to be about 7 to 8 inches in long, a little bit bigger than a new pencil.

Photo of a Cactus Wren

Two-Tailed Swallowtail

Arizona's state butterfly is the two-tailed swallowtail butterfly.

Swallowtails are the largest species of butterflies in the United States. It features a wingspan of 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches long.

Found only west of the Mississippi River, two-tailed swallowtails are strong flyers.

It is bright yellow, although females have a slightly orange cast to their wings.

On the yellow background of each hind wing are seven iridescent blue, rectangular-shaped markings, and two red crescentshaped marks.

Four narrow black bars run up and down the forewings. Both forewings and hind wings are edged in black.

The key field mark for this butterfly is its two "tails" on each hind wing.

A swallowtail's habitat includes canyonlands, foothills, valleys and woodlands.

Photo of a Two-Tailed Swallowtail

Colt Single Action Army Revolver

The newest of the state symbols, the Colt Single Action Revolver became the state firearm in 2011.

The state firearm is the Colt Single Action Army Revolver.

In April of 2011 Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1610 and created Arizona's newest symbol, the State Firearm. Seen by some as the gun that won the west, the Colt Single Action Army revolver was first manufactured in 1873 and continues to made at the factory in Connecticut. -- A.R.S. § 41-860.02

Photo of a Colt Single Action Army Revolver

Apache Trout

The Apache Trout is the state fish.

It has a yellowish color and pink bands.

It has spots on its body and is found in state rivers.

Photo of Apache Trout


State flag

This is the state flag. Can you name the colors of the state flag? They are copper, blue, yellow and red. Blue and gold are the state colors.

All of the symbols on this flag have a meaning. The copper star is there to remind us of the state's copper industry. Can you name something that is made of copper? That's right, a new penny!

The copper star is rising from a blue field on the flag. At the top of the flag are rays, like a setting sun. We have a lot of pretty sunsets of yellow and red in Arizona, don't we?

Can you count the number of rays on the flag? Start from left to right and count the red and yellow rays. If you counted correctly there are 13.

Read even more about our state flag.

Saguaro Cactus Blossom

The state flower is the white blossom of the saguaro, the largest cactus in the United States.

The saguaro blossoms appear on the tips of the long arms of the cactus during May and June.

Next time you go for a ride, ask your mom or dad to point out a saguaro cactus.

You can tell them the state flower grows on it in the spring!

Photo of a saguaro blossom

Petrified Wood

Petrified wood is the state fossil.

Most of the petrified wood in Arizona can be found in the Petrified Forest in the northern part of the state.

A long time ago the wood used to be trees.

Over a long period of time the wood became petrified, meaning it is as hard as a rock!

Photo of petrified wood


A gem is a precious stone, that means, it has value. 

Arizona's state gem, turquoise, is blue-green stone.

It has been used a long, long time in Native American jewelry.

Photo of Turquoise stone


The ringtail is the state mammal, it is not really a cat but is related to the raccoon and coatimundi.

The ringtail is also known as the ringtail cat, miner's cat, and cacomistle.

It was named the state mammal in 1986.

Photo of a ringtail


Copper officially became the new state metal on July 3, 2015.  Senate Bill 1441 was signed into law March 27 by Gov. Doug Ducey. The bill was sponsored by State Senator Steve Smith who was approached with the idea by fourth-grade teacher Jennifer Royer. As part of an exercise in her civics class at Copper Creek Elementary School in Tucson, Royer’s students proposed that Arizona should have a state metal and that metal should be copper.

The copper specimen was presented to the Arizona Capitol Museum by Freeport-McMoRan representatives Vice President African Exploration William H. Wilkinson, Ph.D. and Richard Bark, Director of Government Relations and Environmental Counsel. 

A photograph of the State Metal, Copper, as seen at Arizona Capitol Museum

Arizona's nickname is The Grand Canyon State. Most of the canyon is within the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona (one of the first national parks in the United States). 

Arizona Ridge-Nosed Rattlesnake

The Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake was the last rattlesnake to be named by herpetologists (grown-ups who study snakes).

This snake is small, rarely weighing more than 3-4 ounces as an adult or growing longer than 24 inches.

The ridge-nosed rattlesnake lives only the Huachuca, Patagonia, and Santa Rita Mountains in the south central part of Arizona.

Photo of Ridge-Nosed Rattlesnake

The official seal is in black and white.

See if you can find all of these drawings on the seal.

In the background is a mountain range with the sun rising behind the peaks.

At the right side of the range of mountains is a storage reservoir (a lake) and a dam.

In the middle are irrigated fields and orchards. In the lower right side of the seal is grazing cattle.

To the left, on a mountainside, is a quartz mill with a miner with a pick and shovel.

Above the drawing is the motto "Ditat Deus," meaning "God Enriches."

The words "Great Seal of the State of Arizona" and the year of admission to the United States, 1912, is written around the seal.

State Seal

Palo Verde

The palo verde, meaning "green stick", is the state tree.

The palo verde is found in the desert and the foothills of Arizona.

When the trees bloom in late spring, they look like gold.

Photo of a Palo Verde