Monday, September 25, 2017

Hodgepodge 331/365 - California State Symbols

While pondering what to write about today, I stumbled on an article about the newly anointed California State Dinosaur, Augustynolophus morrisi, a type of hadrosaur—plant eaters known for their mouths shaped like duck bills. This, a year after a state fabric was declared. You probably guessed it: denim (think Levi Strauss and blue jeans).

This got me to wondering about California's other state . . . ummm, what would these be called? Attributes? I'm sure there's a list out there of them all, if only I knew what to search for. Instead, I can search individually, off the top of my head. Like, California State Reptile: the desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, adopted in 1972. That makes sense (though I would have voted for the horned toad, but never mind: the desert tortoise is a perfectly awesome reptile too). And the State Amphibian: the California red-legged frog, Rana draytonii, adopted in 2014.

Ah, and that last search netted me what I was hoping for: a list of "California State Symbols, Songs, and Emblems" (which has not yet been updated to include the new dino). Wikipedia, it turns out, also has a list. Most of the state symbol designations may be found in sections 420–429.8 of the California Government Code. This is serious business.

Here are a few more plants and animals that California has claimed as unique or special to itself. Oh, and a few foods and minerals as well. And my favorite fossil (largely, I confess, because of its smily name), to keep the new dino company. I love lists!

  • Animal: California grizzly bear (as seen on our flag, if no longer—not since 1922—on our lands), Ursus californicus (designated 1953)
  • Marine mammal: California gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus (1975)
  • Marine reptile: Pacific leatherback sea turtle, Dermochelys coriacea (2015)
  • Freshwater fish: California golden trout, Oncorhyncus mykiss aguabonita (1947)
  • Marine fish: Garibaldi, Hypsypops rubicundus (1995)
  • Bird: California valley quail, Lophortyx californica (1931)
  • Insect: California dogface butterfly, Zerene (or Colias) eurydice (1972)
  • Flower: California poppy, Eschscholzia californica (1903)
  • Grass: Purple needlegrass, Nassella pulchra (2004) 
  • Lichen: Lace lichen, Ramalina menziesii (2015) 
  • Fruit: Avocado, Persea americana (2013)
  • Grain: Rice (2013)
  • Nut: Almond (2013)
  • Vegetable: Artichoke, Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus (2013)
    Benitoite, from our neighbor
    San Benito County: gorgeous!
  • Mineral: Gold (1965)
  • Rock: Serpentine (1965)
  • Gemstone: Benitoite (1985)
  • Soil: San Joaquin (1997)
  • Fossil: Saber-toothed cat, Smilodon californicus (1973) 
And in case you're wondering, the State Dance is West Coast Swing. And the State Folk Dance? The square dance. Both designated in 1988.

And there you have it. Meanwhile, while doing my research, I noticed that Indiana is in the process of designating a state language. Yeah, you can guess that one as well. So unnecessary . . .


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