New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey State Symbols State Seal State Flag Meadow Violet Eastern Goldfinch Red Oak Square Dancing Horse Honeybee Knobbed Whelk Hadrosaurus foulkii Brook Trout A. J. Meerwald Blueberry


Liberty and Prosperity

      Liberty and prosperity - these words, the official state motto, are found on the flag and state seal of the State of New Jersey. Named in 1664 after the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel, New Jersey became the third state admitted into the union on December 18, 1787.

      Designed by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere and presented in May 1777, the state seal features three plows in the shield honoring the state's agricultural tradition. A horse's head above the shield stands for speed and strength, and the two figures are Liberty and Ceres; the Roman goddess of grain.

      The state flag was adopted in 1896 and features the official state colors; buff and Jersey blue. Based on the Dutch heritage, the colors were chosen by George Washington himself.

      Seen at many a backyard bird-feeder, the eastern goldfinch was adopted as our state bird in 1935.

      The red oak was named the official state tree in 1950. The fruit of the red oak, the acorn, is used as the symbol for this Website. In 1951 the Dogwood was named the state memorial tree.

      Although it has been considered the state flower since 1913, it wasn't until 1971 that the Legislature specifically designated the common meadow violet as one of our official symbols, a high honor in the Garden State.

      Just like the early American colonists, the honeybee came here from Europe, and was officially adopted as the state insect in 1974.

      Equus caballus, the scientific name for the horse, became our official state animal in 1977.

      With more than 1,400 miles of streams to swim through, the brook trout became the official state fish in 1992.

      If you put the knobbed whelk, the official state shell, up to your ear you can hear the ocean. These shells are found all along the New Jersey coastal shoreline.

      The official state dance, the square dance was designated in 1983. Do-si-do!

      A sailing classroom, the A.J. Meerwald was named New Jersey's official tall ship in April 1998. This schooner has also earned a spot in the National Register of Historic Places.

      Millions of years ago giants roamed New Jersey. In 1858 the world's first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton was uncovered in a farmers pit. This animal, Hadrosaurus foulkii, became the official state dinosaur in 1991. The site where it was found was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1994.

      First cultivated in the Garden State in 1916, the blueberry is a delicious new addition to this list as the official state fruit as of January 12, 2004.


      For more information about New Jersey history and the state symbols, visit the following Websites or your local public or school library.

      State Symbols Model

      This model, based on the graphic on this
      webpage, was created for Earth Day 2001.
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