How well do you know your state symbols? In New Jersey, we are blessed with a variety of plants and animals that call our state home but only a select view are special enough to be considered our state symbols. Many of these symbols pay tribute to the historic significance these plants and animals had in the early colonial days of our country, while others represent diverse and abundant wildlife found in our state. Everyone knows that the goldfinch is the state bird of New Jersey but do you know the other symbols that call the Garden State home?
Violets have heart-shaped leaves with purple-blue flowers and can be seen sprouting up in New Jersey lawns, fields, and meadows. Violets make great decorations around trees, near water sources, and flower beds. These flowers are quite hardy, requiring little care from you. Water them after planting and occasionally throughout the summer as needed.
The horse became the state animal in 1977 and for good reason. The U.S. Equestrian Team is headquartered here and the state boasts over 4,500 horse farms. The founding fathers saw horses as such an important and vital animal to the shaping of the colonies and our country that they even featured it on the state flag.
Native to the Midwest and east coast the northern red oak is one of the faster-growing oak trees, making it an ideal shade tree for homes and landscapes.are dark green in summer and turn bright red in autumn. The acorns of the northern red oak are a favorite food birds, deer, elk, bear, squirrels, and rabbits. It’s been crowned as the state tree of New Jersey for its historical significance as a provider of wood for railroad ties, houses, and furniture.
The highbush blueberry became the state fruit in 2003. A group of fourth-graders campaigned for it to be the official state symbol. These berries have been an important agricultural crop in New Jersey since the early 1900s. The highbush blueberry can tolerate very cold conditions and acidic soils. They are delicious when eaten right off the vine or made into pies and jam.
The black swallowtail butterfly became the state butterfly of New Jersey in 2015. With its striking colors and 4-inch wingspan, it’s no wonder this is one of the most beloved and studied butterflies in America. It is a frequent patron to open fields, farms, and gardens. If you design your garden to attract butterflies and other pollinators, you’ll be sure to win the attention of this beauty.
Now that you’re familiar with our state symbols, try to incorporate them into your own Garden State garden.