Symbols are chosen by each state in the US as a way to showcase their individual and special qualities. The state symbols of Arkansas can help you to understand the cultural and natural heritage of this beautiful state.
It might seem odd that this includes symbols such as a state cooking vessel or a state grain but each of these items represent something important or interesting about Arkansas.
State Symbols of Arkansas
These are the “official” state symbols of Arkansas. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Arkansas State Beverage
1985, the Arkansas General Assembly designated milk the state’s official beverage.
They selected milk because dairy production was a mainstay of Arkansas farming in the past although this is no longer the case.
Arkansas State Bird
One of my favorite state symbols of Arkansas is the state bird which happens to be the mockingbird. The official state bird was selected in 1929.
The mockingbird is one of the most recognized birds in the south. It can sing for hours and has the ability to mimic not only other birds but other sounds like the barking of a dog and even the sound of sirens.
It can be found in Arkansas year round.
Arkansas State Butterfly
The state butterfly is the Diana Fritillary Butterfly. It was designated in 2007.
There are 134 species of butterflies found in Arkansas and the Diana Fritillary is one of the most spectacular.
This is a large butterfly that enjoys the mountains of Arkansas. You can often see them at Mount Magazine State Park.
Arkansas State Cooking Vessel
In 2001 the Dutch oven was named the state cooking vessel of Arkansas.
Use of a dutch oven was extremely common among the early settlers of the state.
Even today it is popular with campers and culinary enthusiasts. Many of the state parks in Arkansas will offer dutch oven cooking classes for their guests.
Arkansas State Dance
In 1991, the square dance was designated the official American folk dance of Arkansas.
The government selected square dancing due to the long history of “called” dances in the state.
Arkansas State Dinosaur
Are you surprised that one of the state symbols of Arkansas is a dinosaur?
The bones of Arkansaurus Fridayi were discovered in the town of Lockesburg, Arkansas in 1972. This “Arkansas lizard” became the official state dinosaur in 2017.
Arkansas State Flower
Apple blossoms have been the state flower since 1901.
When the apple blossom was first suggested as one of the state symbols of Arkansas there was some opposition due to biblical grounds and the role of the apple in the fall of mankind.
However, at this time apples were an important cash crop in the state and commerce seems to have won out over religion.
Arkansas still produces delicious apples that you find at local farmer’s markets in the fall. However apples are no longer an important market crop for the state.
Arkansas State Fruit/Vegetable
This is my very favorite of the state symbols of Arkansas because there is nothing better than a home grown Arkansas tomato.
Yes, the pink tomato is both the official state fruit and the official state vegetable.
The pink tomato has long been a staple of Arkansas gardens. The most famous of these tomatoes are grown near the town of Warren in Bradley County called the Bradley Pink.
There is a wonderful Pink Tomato Festival in Warren in the summer when the tomatoes begin to ripen.
Arkansas State Gem
If you know anything about Arkansas you will not be surprised to learn that the state gem is the diamond. One of the things that Arkansas is most known for is having a diamond mine.
This is the only state where you can go and dig for your own diamonds and keep what you find. Check out Crater of Diamonds State Park to learn more.
Arkansas State Grain
Rice became the state grain of Arkansas in 2007.
This makes sense as Arkansas is the top producer of rice in the United States.
About 1.3 million acres of rice are planted and harvested in the state every year. Rice is the top agricultural export.
Arkansas State Grape
Many people are surprised to learn that there is a heritage of vineyards and wine producing in Arkansas near the Altus area.
The Cynthiana grape was named the state grape in 2009.
Arkansas State Insect
I have heard people joke that the state insect of Arkansas should be the mosquito.
Fortunately, in 1973 the state’s government selected the honeybee instead.
Arkansas has long been a significant producer of honey. Most of the honey produced in the state is packaged and sold locally.
Arkansas State Knife
The state knife is one of the more fascinating of the state symbols of Arkansas.
The state knife of Arkansas happens to be the Bowie Knife. This was designated in 2020.
At one point the unofficial nickname of the state was the Bowie State and/or the Toothpick State. A toothpick knife was a type of Bowie knife and the locals were known to favor it.
Bladesmithing has been popular in Arkansas throughout the history of the state. Even today around 10 percent of the world’s recognized Master Bladesmiths are Arkansans.
The first bladesmithing school in the US, the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing, was opened in Arkansas in the late 1980s
A famous blacksmith from Arkansas named James Black, is credited with forging one of the original knives for Jim Bowie in the early 1830s.
Arkansas State Mammal
The white tail deer was designated as the state mammal of Arkansas in 1993. The white tail deer herd in the state is estimated to be about 1 million head.
Deer hunting is an important attraction in the state.
Arkansas State Mineral
In 1967 the Quartz Crystal became the official state mineral of Arkansas. Hot Springs, Arkansas is the place to be when it comes to quartz crystals.
You will find plenty of rock shops in Hot Springs and the small towns in the Ouachita Mountains. In addition there are plenty of dig-your-own crystal mines.
Many are located in the small town of Mount Ida which is known as the Quartz Crystal Capital of the World.
Arkansas State Motto
Regnat Populas is the state motto of Arkansas. This is Latin for “the people rule.”
Arkansas State Musical Instrument
Folk music is at the heart of Arkansas music so it is no surprise that the fiddle is the official state musical instrument.
In 1985 the legislature choose the fiddle saying that it was “most commonly associated with the musical education and entertainment of the pioneer families of Arkansas and…continues as a dominant musical instrument in the culture…of the people of Arkansas.”
Mountain Home, Arkansas happens to be the Folk Music Capitol of the World. You will see many fiddle players on the town square there.
Arkansas State Nickname:
There current nickname of Arkansas is The Natural State.
Arkansas has had a variety of nicknames both official and unofficial through the years.
Arkansas State Nut
The pecan is the official state nut of Arkansas. No jokes about the state nut of Arkansas being a person allowed!
Pecan trees are common throughout the southern part of the state. They grow well in damp ground and are often seen on flat land and along rivers. These are are beautiful, large trees prized both for the pecan nut and for their wood.
Arkansas State Rock
Bauxite was designated as the state rock of Arkansas in 1967. Bauxite is the most common ore in aluminum.
It was first discovered in the state in the late 1880s and bauxite ore played an important role in Saline County, in Arkansas, and in the world.
For a while, the town of Bauxite, Arkansas produced most of the world’s aluminum.
Due to changing methods of producing aluminum and findings of bauxite in other countries this is no longer a major product of the state.
Arkansas State Songs
Arkansas has designated four state songs. They vary from folk songs, to anthems, to country pop. The history of the state song is a little convoluted.
The first of the songs was a fiddle tune known as “the Arkansas Traveler.”
In 1916, Eva Ware Barnett, a classically trained composer and professor of music published the song, “Arkansas.” This was an anthem and tribute that became the first officially recognized state song.
Due to a dispute with Barnett over copyright the state went back to “The Arkansas Traveler” as the state song from 1949 – 1963.
In 1963 with the copyright issue settled, the song, “Arkansas” by Eva Barnett once again became the state song along with “The Arkansas Traveler.”
During the state’s sesquicentennial in 1986 two more popular songs were introduced. These were “Oh, Arkansas” by Terry Rose and “Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)” by Wayland Holyfield.
Both of these more modern songs ended up being adopted by the state as well and to this day all 4 songs are on the Arkansas Secretary of State website as the Arkansas state songs.
Arkansas State Tree
Here is the last of the state symbols of Arkansas. The pine tree was officially designated as the Arkansas state tree in 1939.
The pine tree was selected because timber was one of the states greatest natural resources.
I hope that you enjoyed this list of the state symbols of Arkansas.
Thanks for stopping by.