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List of Maryland state symbols facts for kids

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Map of USA MD
Location of the state of Maryland in the United States of America

This is a list of symbols of the U.S. state of Maryland. The majority of the items in the list are officially recognized symbols created by an act of the Maryland General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. However, two of the more famous symbols of Maryland, the state motto and the state nicknames, were never made official by the state government. While the state seal derives from the colonial heritage of the state, the majority of official state symbols were designated in the last few decades.


Type Symbol Description Year Image Source
Flag The Flag of Maryland Arms of the Calvert and Crossland families. While 1904 was the official date of adoption, the flag has colonial roots. Calvert was the surname of the Lords Baltimore, proprietors of the Maryland colony, and Crossland was the maiden name of the mother of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore. 1904 Maryland flag
Motto Fatti maschii, parole femine
Literally: manly deeds, womanly words
Officially: strong deeds, gentle words
The state motto has never been formally adopted, though it was the motto of the Calvert family upon the founding of Maryland in 1634 and appears on the Great Seal of Maryland. Traditional
Nicknames The Old Line State
The Free State
The Old Line State might have originated as a nickname given by George Washington during the Revolutionary War to the Maryland line of troops. The Free State originated from an editorial in the Baltimore Sun in 1923 on how Maryland should be free by seceding from the Union rather than prohibiting alcohol. Traditional
Seal The Great Seal of Maryland The obverse side shows Lord Baltimore as a knight on a charging horse. The reverse side shows the Calvert seal, a plowman, a fisherman, the state motto and a Latin text that translates as "You have crowned us with the shield of your goodwill." 1969 Seal of Maryland (reverse).svg
Coat of arms The coat of arms of Maryland The Calvert seal, a plowman, a fisherman, the state motto and a Latin text that translates as "You have crowned us with the shield of your goodwill." Coat of arms of Maryland.svg


Type Symbol Description Year Image Source
Bird Baltimore oriole
Icterus galbula
The male's black and orange feathers are similar to the Calvert seal. This led to the bird receiving its name of Baltimore. 1947 Baltimore oriole
Cat Calico cat The calico has tri-color fur of orange, black and white, which is the same colors as the Calvert seal. 2001 Calico cat
Crustacean Blue crab
Callinectes sapidus
The blue crab is found in the Chesapeake Bay and is the most valuable species harvested from the bay. 1989 Blue crab
Dinosaur Astrodon
Astrodon johnstoni
In 1958, the first Astrodon fossils were found in Maryland. They lived in what is now Maryland from 95 to 130 million years ago. 1998 Astrodon
Dog Chesapeake Bay Retriever Named after the Chesapeake Bay, the retriever was developed in the United States to recover waterfowl for hunters. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County's mascot is a retriever. 1964 Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Fish Rock fish
Morone saxatilis
The rockfish, also called striped bass, is found in abundance in Maryland. 1965 Rockfish
Flower Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta
A daisy with yellow petals and a dark purple center. 1918 Black-eyed susan
Horse Thoroughbred horse
Equus caballus
The Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing is held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. 2003 Thoroughbred horse
Insect Baltimore checkerspot butterfly
(Euphydryas phaeton)
The butterfly has orange and black colorings, which is the same colors as the Calvert seal. 1973 Baltimore checkerspot butterfly
Reptile Diamondback terrapin
Malaclemys terrapin
The terrapin were abundant and easy to catch and became a gourmet food until over-harvesting depleted terrapin stocks. The University of Maryland's nickname is the "terrapins". 1994 Diamonback terrapin
Tree White oak
Quercus alba
A long-lived and one of the pre-eminent hardwoods of America. It is also the state tree of Illinois and Connecticut. The Wye Oak was believed to be the largest and oldest white oak, being 540 years old until it fell during a thunderstorm in 2002. 1941 White oak


Type Symbol Description Year Image Source
Fossil Ecphora gardnerae gardnerae The shell of an extinct snail that is commonly found throughout Maryland. 1994 Ecphora gardnerae gardnerae
Gem Patuxent River stone
an agate
A yellow and red, almost an orange hue, quartz found only in Maryland. It is named after the Patuxent River. 2004


Type Symbol Description Year Image Source
Boat Skipjack Skipjacks would dredge the Chesapeake Bay for oysters. 1985 Skipjack
Dessert Smith Island Cake A cake with eight to fifteen layers and chocolate frosting between each layer. The recipe originated from Smith Island, Maryland. 2008 Smith island cake2009.jpg
Drink Milk 1998 Milk
Exercise Walking 2008
Folk dance Square dance A folk dance with four couples arranged in a square. As of 2011, it is the official state dance for 21 states. 1994 Square dancers
Song "Maryland, My Maryland" Lyrics are from a nine-stanza poem written by James Ryder Randall and set to the tune of "O Tannenbaum". 1939 Maryland, My Maryland
Sport (individual) Jousting Jousting tournaments have been held in Maryland since colonial times. The Maryland State Jousting Championship has been held annually since 1950 and is sponsored by the Maryland Jousting Tournament


1962 Jousting
Sport (team) Lacrosse Lacrosse is the oldest known sport to be played in America. Maryland is home to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum. 2004 Lacrosse
Theater Center Stage Center Stage was founded in 1963 and is Maryland's largest theater company. 1978
Summer theater Olney Theatre Center Olney Theatre was founded in 1938 and offers include the Summer Shakespeare Festival and summer training programs for High School students. 1978
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