Friday, April 25, 2008

State tartan?

I was looking up information for a future post, and I came across this list of California State Symbols. Most of these I knew already, having gone through the California state school system, and being interested in odd trivia, but some are a little obscure.

I've always thought it was interesting that the State Animal is the California grizzly (Ursus arctos califoricus(?)) that was hunted to extinction by 1922. I think it should be re-named the State Mammal, because there are a few other state animals. For instance:

California has TWO, count 'em, TWO state fish! The golden trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aquabonita - the website is about 20 years out of date with the Latin name), a beautiful subspecies of rainbow trout, and the garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus), a stunning bright orange coastal marine damselfish. When I was first going to college, there was a debate about whether the garibaldi should replace the golden trout as the State Fish. It was settled when the legislature created a separate designation of State Marine Fish for the garibaldi.

Oh wait. The bear will have to be the State Terrestrial Mammal, because there is a State Marine Mammal - the California grey whale (Eschrictius robustus). Oops. There is also another extinct mammal - the sabre-toothed cat (Smilodon californicus) is the State Fossil.

The State Bird is the California Quail (Callipepla californica) - recently renamed Valley Quail, which doesn't really have the same ring. The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is the State Reptile. We even apparently (I didn't know this one) have a State Insect, the California dogface butterfly (Colias eurydice Boisduval). Sounds...uh...cute?

See? Many other State Animals. I'm surprised there isn't a State Amphibian (California newts are orange) and I think I want to start a campaign for State Aquatic Insect... golden stonefly.

The State Flower is blooming like crazy right now, and I've been trying to remember my camera so I can get a photo for my blog. California poppies, sometimes called golden poppies, are about the same colour as the garibaldi, and the California Department of Transportation has been seeding them along the freeways, so the commute is a little more colourful. Until everything dies and turns brown, as usual. Golden-brown of course, because this is the Golden State (State Nickname).

State Song
- I Love You California. Never heard it. The lyrics look really sappy. I would personally much prefer California Here I Come.

Eureka is the State Motto, and has been part of the Great Seal of the State of California since 1859. It refers to the discovery of...the State Mineral, gold (surprised?). I like this - Eureka beat out a move to have In God We Trust as the State Motto in 1957.

We have a State Tartan? I looked it up. Apparently several states have their own official tartans. I'm not quite sure why. Sorry Kia, Indiana doesn't seem to be one of them.

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