Florida State Symbols Quiz
by Donna Malloy
Photo courtesy the State of Florida Images and Symbols
Searching for the legendary fountain of youth, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon discovered Florida on Easter Day in 1513. De Leon was the first European to set foot on Florida soil. He aptly named the land Pascua Florida which translated means "Flowery Easter" after Spain's Feast of the Flowers Easter celebration.
But you already knew that. Let's test your knowledge of Official Florida State Symbols: (answers below)
1. Florida State Animal. In 1982, Florida students elected the "Felis Concolor Coryi" as the official state animal of Florida. Misunderstood and feared, this predator was hunted to near extinction.
2. Florida State Beverage. In 1967, the juice from this citrus fruit was designated the official state beverage. Citrus fruit and in particular this citrus fruit, is a major part of Florida's economy. Florida produces the majority of citrus fruit grown in the United States. Anita Bryant was once its spokesperson.
3. Florida State Bird. This bird is credited with the ability to sing up to 200 songs, including sounds of other birds, amphibian and insect sounds and even mechanical noise.
4. Florida State Butterfly. Designated in 1996 as the official state butterfly of Florida, the "Heliconius charitonius" otherwise known as a longwing beauty, can be spotted throughout Florida gardens, thickets, hardwood hammocks and most noticeably in the Everglades National Park.
5. Florida State Flower. The "Citrus sinensis" was designated Florida's state flower 100 years ago. The blossom from this flower is considered one of the sweetest and most fragrant in Florida.
6. Florida State Freshwater Fish. In 1975 "Micropterus salmoides floridamus" was designated the official state freshwater fish. This largemouth fish lives in vegetation-rich Florida waters and is distinguished by a deep notch in its dorsal fin.
7. Florida State Marine Mammal. "Trichechus manatus" was officially designated Florida's state marine mammal in 1975. Herbivorous, this gentle giant can be found anywhere seagrass beds grow, consuming up to 15% of their body weight daily.
8. Florida State Reptile. In 1987 the Florida legislature designated "Alligator mississippiensis" as the official state reptile. Representing Florida's extensive untamed wilderness and swamps, this reptile can be found throughout Florida in lakes, swamps, canals and other wetland habitats. Feeding this reptile is against Florida statutes.
9. Florida State Saltwater Mammal. Even the Florida legislature was confused on this issue. They designated the "porpoise, also commonly known as the dolphin" as the official saltwater mammal in 1975. But a porpoise and a dolphin are not interchangeable; porpoises are not commonly found in Florida waters. The Bottlenose dolphin "Tursiops truncates" is found along Florida's Atlantic and Gulf coasts and can live to the age of 30. Extra credit for this answer.
10. Florida State Wildflower. Planted extensively as part of Florida's highway beautification program, this wildflower of the genus "Coreopsis" was designated Florida's official wildflower in 1991. Its varied hues range from pink to gold.
11. Florida's State Pie. The most recent addition to the official designation category was the addition of Florida's state pie in 2006. This tart yet aromatic pie uses the juice from the small Key limes and the filling is yellow rather than green. If you order this pie and are served a piece of "green" pie, it has been artificially colored.
If you scored +10 correctly, congratulations! You can consider yourself an adopted "Florida Cracker;" just not an official Florida cracker. The term "Florida Cracker" is used by some Floridians who were born and raised in the state, generation after generation. Their descendents consider it a source of pride to be related to frontier people who survived and thrived in the early days of Florida pioneering before the invention of screens, mosquito repellent and air conditioning.
1. Florida Panther, 2. Orange Juice, 3. Mockingbird, 4. Zebra Longwing, 5. Orange Blossom, 6. Largemouth Bass, 7. Manatee, 8. American Alligator, 9. Porpoise, 10. Coreopsis, 11. Key Lime Pie
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