Utah's State Symbols
State Flag

The original Utah State Flag consisted of a solid white state seal on a light blue background which was adopted by the State Legislature in 1896 and revised in 1913. The Utah State Flag, as we know it today, was originally designed for the battleship Utah in 1912. It was later made the official flag of Utah when Governor William Spry signed House Joint Resolution I in 1913.

Explanation of the Symbols on Utah's State Flag

The Utah State Flag has a blue background with the State Seal inscribed in the center and is easily distinguished from other state flags.

American Eagle with wings outspread, grasping six arrows in its talons, symbolizes protection in peace and war.
Bee Hive is the symbol of industry.
Sego Lily is a symbol of peace.
Draped American Flag is the symbol of our support to the nation.
"1847" is the year the Mormon Pioneer entered the Salt Lake Valley.
"1896" is the year Utah was admitted as the 45th state (January 4, 1896).

Emblem and Motto
The Beehive and word "industry" became the official motto and emblem for Utah on March 4, 1959. Industry is associated with the symbol of the beehive. The early pioneers had few material resources at their disposal and therefore had to rely on their own "industry" to survive. The beehive was chosen as the emblem for the provisional State of Deseret in 1848 and was maintained along with the word "industry" on the seal and flag when Utah became a state in 1896.

Abundant nesting colonies of the California gull (Larus californious Lawrence) have been reported as early as the 1850's in Utah. These gulls are assumed to be the species that saved the crops of the early Mormon settlers from crickets in 1848-1849. These birds now nest in large colonies in the islands and dikes of the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake.

The sego lily (Calochortus nuttallii) was made the official state flower in 1911 after a census was taken of the state's school children as to their preference for a state flower. The sego lily grows six to eight inches high on open grass and sage rangelands in the Great Basin during the summer months. The plant is important to Utah because the bulbs were eaten by the early Mormon settlers during their first winter in the valley when food was scarce.

The blue spruce (Picea pungens) was chosen by the Utah State Legislature in 1933 to be the state tree. The tree is found in the Wasatch and Uinta mountains at elevations between 6,000 to 11,000 feet. It can be transplanted successfully and is widely used as an ornamental tree. Its foliage is generally silvery blue in color and has the ability to withstand temperature extremes.


The topaz is a semiprecious gem found in Beaver, Juab and Tooele counties of Utah. This hard gem is an aluminum florisilicate and is next in hardness to carborundum and diamonds (two of the hardest natural mineral around). Topaz is found in a variety of colors- colorless, pinkish, yellowish, bluish. When found, the gem is either in separate crystals or stubby sharpened pencils. Topaz is the birthstone of November.


Utah officially recognized Coal as the State Rock in 1991. Coal is a black or brown rock that can be ignited and burned to produce heat and electricity. Coalburning power plants supply about half of the electricity used in the United States and nearly two-thirds of that used throughout the world. Utah coal deposits are found primarily in Carbon and Emery Counties of Central Utah.


The Rock Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis) became the official state animal in 1971. A member of the deer family, the elk lives in close association with the deer and moose throughout much of Utah. Mature bulls stand up to 60 inches at the shoulder and may weigh over 700 pounds. Today, elk are are plentiful on most mountain ranges in Utah.


The cutthroat trout Salmo clarki, has 15 recognized subspecies, one of which is the Bonneville Cutthroat. All cutthroat trout have a "cut," a patch of orange or red on the throat and they differ from the rainbow trout because they have basibranchial (hyoid) teeth in their throat between the gill arches, they typically have longer heads and