As with every other state in this great country of ours, Idaho has adopted symbols special and/or unique to our state. Some are no-brainers like the potato being the state vegetable, but there are other facts with deeper meaning. So, buckle up and prepare yourself for a whirlwind tour of the symbols of the great state of Idaho.
Idaho State Bird
Idaho’s state bird is the Mountain bluebird. “So, what’s so special about the Mountain bluebird?”, you might think. Let me tell you. First of all, this bird is a naturally born redeveloper. The Mountain bluebird doesn’t feel the need to create a new place to build its home. Pre-existing cavities in trees or any old woodpecker holes are its favorite location to build. But, it’s not a snob. If there’s not a natural source for a home, it is more than willing to use a man-made structure. This bird is also great for pest control. All kinds of bugs from beetles to grasshoppers are on the menu but so are all types of berries which Idaho has a lot.
Idaho State Fish
Idaho’s state fish is the Cutthroat trout. This fish is indigenous to Idaho and was a main source of food for the early settlers of Idaho. Now, this fish is considered a sport fish. Idaho is famous for its many makes and rivers where Cutthroat trout can be found. The Cutthroat, known for its sensitivity to changes in our environment acts as a barometer for the health of our environment.
Idaho State Flag
Idaho’s flag was first made in 1898. It was presented by the women of the state to a regiment of Idaho soldiers heading off to the Spanish-American War. After the war, Idaho’s legislature decided to keep the flag as Idaho’s flag. The Great Seal has an interesting origin. Over the span of approximately 30 years a number of Great Seals were drawn and used for a few years, but none were found to be satisfactory. Once Idaho became a state there held a contest inviting people to submit a design for the Great Seal. The grand prize being $100. At this time a young artist traveling to California, by the name of Emma Sarah Etine Edwards, made a short stop-over in Boise to visit relatives. She was encouraged to enter the contest. Her design was unanimously selected, and she won the $100. Now, Idaho boasts that its flag is the only one designed by a woman. Emblazoned on the seal is the state motto: Esto Perpetua meaning let it be perpetual or It is forever. During Emma Edwards’ stay in Boise, she fell in love with Idaho making it her permanent home.
Idaho State Butterfly
Idaho claims the Monarch butterfly as its state insect, but so do seven other states. It is also known as the milkweed butterfly because the females lay their eggs on the underside of the milkweed leaves. When the eggs hatch, the larvae chow down on the milkweed plant for a couple weeks then they change into caterpillars. A while later it spins a pupa or chrysalis staying inside for a couple more weeks. When it emerges from the pupa it is a beautiful Monarch butterfly.
Idaho State Flower
Idaho’s state flower is the Syringa also known as the Lewis’ mock orange. The Syringa is a very useful shrub. It has been used to stabilize riverbanks and is food for a wide variety of wildlife. Elk, deer and even livestock can find a tasty meal on the ends of its branches. Its seeds are more of an attraction for the smaller animals such as quail and squirrel. It was also a valuable building resource for the Native Americans who used its branches to make arrows, cradles, and brushes.
Idaho State Fossil
Did you know that Idaho’s state fossil, the Hagerman Horse Fossil, can be found at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument? Hagerman is just a short drive southeast of Boise just off of Interstate 84. The Hagerman horse was about the size of our present-day Arabian horse but was actually more closely related to the zebra.
Idaho State Fruit
The state fruit is huckleberries. Huckleberries are a popular treat, especially when smothered with chocolate or blended into ice cream. Though the plant is not good for growing commercially, there are plenty huckleberries that grow wild in the mountains. If you choose to go berry hunting, just remember your bear spray because you might run into some furry competition for those berries.
Idaho State Horse
The Appaloosa is Idaho’s state horse. The Nez Perce Native Americans are the people who developed the breed. Originally, Europeans named the horse a Palouse horse named for the Palouse River. Eventually, the name morphed from A Palouse horse to Appaloosa horse. It is considered a good stock horse which adapts well to farm and ranch life. If you wish to investigate this horse more, you should visit the Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center in Moscow, Idaho.
Idaho State Raptor
Yes, Idaho has a state raptor, but it’s not a prehistoric animal. Idaho’s raptor is the Peregrine falcon. In fact, a short jaunt south of Boise you’ll find the World Center for the Birds of Prey. This center has live bird demonstrations with hands-on exhibits for everyone. The Peregrine falcon prefers open landscapes such as meadows or grasslands. No doubt to help facilitate hunting for its favorite meal of other birds. Doves, pigeons, waterfowl, and songbirds are among the list of birds it likes to hunt.
Idaho State Gem
Idaho is also known as the Gem State because it has the most types of gems than anywhere in the United States. Only Africa has a greater variety than Idaho. The state gem is the Star garnet which can only be found in one other place and that is India. This gem got its name from a unique property that causes it to reflect a four or six-pointed star. These garnets are found in Idaho’s panhandle area.
Idaho State Tree
The White pine is Idaho’s state tree. The from the White pine is a very versatile wood. Because of its straight knot-free grain and because it is easily worked with tools it is popular in constructing windows, door frames, shelves, and paneling. The world’s tallest White pine standing at 219 ft. is found near Elk River, Idaho.
Idaho is a diverse and beautiful place. Its unique features, treasures, and rich heritage create a wonderful place to live. Even the wildlife call it home. And as it says on the Great Seal, let it be forever…that way.
https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Idaho-called-The-Gem-State – Tani Hughes