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Home > Explore > State Symbols > Flag to Motto

State Symbols: Flag to Motto

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Flag, State
The Oregon state flag, adopted in 1925, is navy blue with gold lettering and symbols. Blue and gold are the state colors. On the flag’s face the legend “STATE OF OREGON” is written above a shield which is surrounded by 33 stars. Below the shield, which is part of the state seal, is written “1859” the year of Oregon’s admission to the union as the 33rd state. The flag’s reverse side depicts a beaver. Oregon has the distinction of being the only state in the union whose flag has a different pattern on the reverse side. The dress or parade flag has a gold fringe, and the utility flag has a plain border.

State flag

The dress or parade flag includes gold fringe as shown above.

Enlarge images: Front | Reverse


Oregon grape

Flower, State
The legislature designated the Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) as the Oregon state flower by resolution in 1899. A low growing plant, the Oregon Grape is native to much of the Pacific Coast and is found sparsely east of the Cascades. Its year-round foliage of pinnated, waxy green leaves resembles holly. The plant bears dainty yellow flowers in early summer and a dark blue berry that ripens late in the fall. The fruit can be used in cooking.


Fossil, State
The legislature designated the Metasequoia, or dawn redwood, as the official state fossil for Oregon by resolution in 2005. The Metasequoia flourished in the Miocene epoch of 25 to 5 million years ago and left its record embedded in rocks across the Oregon landscape. While long extinct in Oregon, paleontologists discovered living 100-foot Metasequoia trees in a remote area of China over 50 years ago and brought specimens back to the United States for propagation, thus ensuring that live Metasequoia trees can be found today.



Oregon pears

Fruit, State
The legislature designated the pear (Pyrus communis) as the official fruit by resolution in 2005. Oregon produces a variety of pears, including Comice, Anjou, Bosc, and Bartlett. The pear ranks as the top-selling tree fruit crop in the state and grows particularly well in the Rogue River Valley and along the Columbia River near Mt. Hood.


Gemstone, State
The 1987 Legislature designated the Oregon sunstone as the official state gemstone. Uncommon in its composition, clarity, and colors, it is a large, brightly colored transparent gem in the feldspar family. The Oregon sunstone attracts collectors and miners and has been identified as a boon to tourism and economic development in southeastern Oregon counties.

Oregon sunstone


Oregon Swallowtail

Insect, State
In 1979 the legislature designated the Oregon Swallowtail (Papilio oregonius) as Oregon’s official insect. A true native of the Northwest, the Oregon Swallowtail is at home in the lower sagebrush canyons of the Columbia River and its tributaries, including the Snake River drainage. This strikingly beautiful butterfly, predominantly yellow, is a wary, strong flier not easily captured.


Mother of Oregon
Honored by the 1987 Legislature as Mother of Oregon, Tabitha Moffatt Brown “represents the distinctive pioneer heritage and the charitable and compassionate nature of Oregon’s people.” At 66 years of age, she financed her own wagon for the trip from Missouri to Oregon. The boarding school for orphans that she established later became known as Tualatin Academy and eventually was chartered as Pacific University in Forest Grove.

Mother of Oregon, Tabitha Moffatt Brown



Motto, State
“She Flies With Her Own Wings” was adopted by the 1987 Legislature as the state motto. The phrase originated with Judge Jessie Quinn Thornton and was pictured on the territorial seal in Latin: Alis Volat Propriis. The new motto replaces “The Union,” which was adopted in 1957.


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