Oklahoma State Symbols including Strawberries, Twisters and Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher! Imagine sitting in your living room and having a tornado sweep you and your home up into the air. Your walls and roof get torn away but your floor remains and eventually returns with you to the ground. You survive the ordeal. This is a true story which happened to a married couple in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The state is famous for its twisters as well as many less harmful and less scary things such as strawberries. The strawberry was adopted as the state fruit in 1995. The following links further explain some fun facts about the fascinating state of Oklahoma.
The state fruit for Oklahoma is the strawberry which is very low in calories. There are only 55 calories in one cup of strawberries. The fruit is high in Vitamin C. Kids can get 140 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C by eating eight strawberries.
Strawberries & More
In 1893 mistletoe became the oldest symbol for Oklahoma. It is technically known as “phoradendron serotinum” and it began by being the state flower. It later was changed to the state floral emblem. The flower actually grows out of the trunks of specific trees such as elms or laurel oaks.
Holidays are Sealed with Mistletoe
In 1951 the scissor-tailed flycatcher became the state bird for Oklahoma. The head and back of the bird is pale gray and the tail is long and forked.
In 1972 the Oklahoma state animal of the buffalo was adopted. Buffalo are also referred to as bison. These brown-colored mammals have shaggy hair surrounding their head and a huge hump in their back. They are very large and can weigh over 2,000 pounds and be as tall as six feet in height. They can also run as fast as 35 miles per hour.
What is a Buffalo? (PDF)
The fiddle is considered the state musical instrument for Oklahoma. It was the most popular instrument in the state by the time the Civil War began. Early fiddling almost entirely came from the British Isles but fiddling style names were connected to Indian tribes and local influences. Examples of style names include “Cherokee” and “Creek Fiddle Dance.”
Milk is the state beverage for Oklahoma. It contains 15 different essential nutrients that your body needs every day. It is also one of the best sources of calcium which is important for good bone health.
Oklahoma has its own state cartoon symbol which is named Gusty. The character was created by a meteorologist named Don Woods in 1954. He was the very first cartoon character to ever become a state symbol.
In 1979 the 76-foot high statue called “The Golden Driller” became the official monument of Oklahoma. It is the biggest freestanding statue in the entire world. The right hand of the statue actually rests on top of a real production oil derrick.
Golden Driller: Titanic Oil Man
In 1968 rose rock became the official state rock of Oklahoma. The rocks actually look like blooming roses and are considered rare. They can only be found in Oklahoma and are also known as “Cherokee Roses.”
Oklahoma State Rock: Rose Rock
Oklahoma has a state fossil called “Saurophaganax maximus.” The Saurophaganax is believed to have been the largest meat-eater during the Upper Jurassic period with a length estimated at 15 meters.
In September of 2007 the watermelon was declared the state vegetable for Oklahoma. Watermelons are 92 percent water. They are filled with vitamins such as Vitamin C, A, B6, B1 and Lycopene. The world record weight for a watermelon is 262 pounds. The watermelon is the most recent symbol for the state of Oklahoma.
Fruit Bites for Kids: Watermelon
The collared lizard is the state reptile for Oklahoma. Black and white bands around the neck are why the term “collared” is used in the name. It can also be called a “mountain boomer” or a “crotaphytus collaris.” This brightly-colored reptile can grow to 14 inches in length and runs on its hind legs.
Oklahoma is part of the famous “Tornado Alley” along with several other states. In this area tornadoes occur on a regular basis during spring and early summer. Tornadoes typically happen between 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Every tornado is unique and has its own sound, shape and color. Three out of every four tornadoes throughout the world occur somewhere in the United States. The fastest winds on Earth are tornado winds.
The state game bird for Oklahoma is the wild turkey. These birds are fast runners and have both good hearing and eyesight. They are good to have around because they eat different pests such as slugs and insects.
The Oklahoma state flag was adopted in 1925 and was designed by a woman named Mrs. Louise Funk Fluke. She entered her design in the Daughters of American Revolution flag contest and won. There have been a total of 14 flags which have flown over the territory of Oklahoma. The shield in the middle of the blue flag is the Osage warrior battle shield.
Oklahoma State Flag
In 1937 the Redbud tree was adopted as the state tree for Oklahoma. The scientific name for the tree is “Cercis Canadensis.” This tree is gorgeous in the spring when it is filled with pink flowers. The redbud has also been referred to as “the Judas tree” because it is believed to be a relative of the tree which Judas Iscariot hung himself from. The bark from this tree has been used for medicinal purposes while the flowers have supposedly been used in salads.
The Redbud Tree
In 1989 the raccoon was adopted as the state furbearer in Oklahoma. These mammals are well-known for the dark fur that surrounds their eyes and resembles a mask. They typically live by water and are omnivorous (which means they will eat almost anything).They can eat a whole wasp nest which is good for humans near that area.
In 2004 the Oklahoma Rose became the state flower for Oklahoma. The botanical name for the flower is “Rosa odorata.” The deep red coloring of the flower is believed by some to stand for the blood shed that occurred in the 1800’s when five North American tribes were forced to relocate to Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State Flower-The Oklahoma Rose
In 1986 the Indian Blanket became the state wildflower for Oklahoma. The flowers are red with yellow tips and they bloom from May until August in the state. This flower has a legend associated with it involving an old Indian blanket maker who was buried in a burial blanket which he made for himself. The blanket was a gift to the Great Spirit who in turn produced the wild flowers as its gift.
Legend of the Indian Blanket Maker
The white-tailed deer is the official game animal for the state of Oklahoma. The male deer can weigh as much as 200 pounds and typically have big antlers. The male deer grow their antlers in April or May and shed them in January. The antlers come back larger each year and have more points on them.
The state amphibian for Oklahoma is the bullfrog which was adopted in 1997. North American bullfrogs hibernate when the weather is cold. They like to bury themselves in mud. They have very good vision and are able to sense vibrations.
North American Bullfrog
The honeybee is the state insect for Oklahoma. Honeybees see the world through compound eyes which are made up of hundreds of simple eyes. The images from all of the simple eyes are put together in the brain of the honeybee which provides them with a very different way of viewing the world.
The official butterfly for the state of Oklahoma is the black swallowtail. The majority of the butterfly is black along with one row of spots which are colored. The accents on the female are blue and yellow while the male accents are yellow. These butterflies have a concealed structure behind their head which can emit a bad odor to help protect them from predators.
The song “Oklahoma!” was adopted as both the official song and anthem for Oklahoma in 1953. Oscar Hammerstein II wrote the words for the song while Richard Rodgers composed the music for it. The lyrics talk about the wind sweepin’ down the plains.
The Oklahoma State Song and Anthem
The state dinosaur for Oklahoma is the “Acrocanthosaurus Atokensis” which was adopted in 2006. This dinosaur is a two-legged dinosaur which is a meat-eater. It has high spines along both its back and neck. The dinosaur had larger and more powerful arms than T-Rex and it could probably have lifted up a small car with them.
The hourglass selenite crystal became the state crystal for Oklahoma in 2005. The only place in the world to find these crystals with the hourglass shape is at the Salt Plains in Oklahoma. The hourglass shape is formed by clay and sand particles within the crystal.
The official state flying mammal for Oklahoma is the Mexican Free-tailed Bat. These bats are extremely fast flyers and most of them migrate to Mexico or Central America during the winter. Some roosts of these types of bats have millions of bats in them.
Animal Fact Sheet: Mexican Free-tailed Bat
Indiangrass is the state grass for Oklahoma. Its scientific name is “Sorghastrum nutans.” The grass has many uses including: erosion control, livestock food, wildlife food and in an ornamental or decorative way.
Indiangrass Uses and Planting Information
The official poem for the state of Oklahoma is “Howdy Folks.” It is by David Randolph Milsten. The poem is about a cowboy.
The Official Poem of the State of Oklahoma
The nickname for Oklahoma is the “Sooner State.” The nickname stems from the “Oklahoma Land Run of 1889.” Oklahoma had lots of unclaimed land and one person could claim up to 160 acres. A competition was held as a way to claim the land.
The Sooner State
The state soil for Oklahoma is port silt loam. Oklahoma is home to over 550 different kinds of soil which is one of the state’s most valuable natural resources. Port silt loam is good for growing crops such as oats, wheat and cotton.
Playing in the Dirt-Discovering Soil (PDF)