West Virginia vs. Virginia: battle of the state symbols

My home state of West Virginia split off from Virginia in 1863, right in the middle of the Civil War. So we’re celebrating our 150th year of being a state; we even got our own stamp (see From the Garret).  I was kind of curious as to how we decided to forge an identity separate from our sister state, Virginia, and I figured state symbols were a good place to start.

So here’s how West Virginia and Virginia compare and contrast when it comes to picking birds, trees, flowers, and other odd things that symbolize our states:

State bird:
West Virginia – cardinal (in tribute to our former status as western Virginia, I guess)
Virginia – cardinal

cardinal

State animal:
WV – black bear
VA – no animal, but the state dog is an American foxhound

State flower:
WV – rhododendron
VA – flowering dogwood

rhododendron-flower(1)

State insect:
WV – honeybee
VA – tiger swallowtail butterfly

State tree:
WV – sugar maple
VA – flowering dogwood (getting repetitious here!)

flowering_dogwood

State fish:
WV – brook trout
VA – ditto

brook trout by JZ

Just for the record, West Virginia also has a state fruit (golden delicious apple), a state reptile (timber rattlesnake!), and a state butterfly (monarch).

Virginia outdoes us by having a state drink (milk), state bat (Virginia big-eared bat, appropriately enough), state boat (Chesapeake Bay deadrise), state fossil (Chesapecten jeffersonius), state shell (oyster) and state dance (square dance).

I think I have to go with West Virginia on having the best state animal, but I can’t argue with Virginia’s choice of a butterfly over a honeybee.  I think butterflies are pretty, although honeybees are quite useful.  I would prefer not to have a rattlesnake as my state reptile.  Apples are wonderful fruit and milk is a great drink; I just wonder why a state needs to pick such symbols.

If you were choosing a symbol for your own home/family, what would you choose?

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About Nancy Herkness

Romance novelist. West Virginia native and New Jersey resident.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Virginia, West Virginia and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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