Arizona Secretary of State - Michele Reagan

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General Information
State Anthems (State Songs)

Information in this section of the Arizona Blue Book has been provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, Musuem Division. A Kid's version is available online at the Secretary of State's Home Page, Click on the Kid's Page link.


The official language declaring the state emblems can be found in Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 41, State Government; Chapter4.1, History, Archaeology, and State Emblems; Article 5, State Emblems.


Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) ~ A.R.S. § 41-854

The genus Campylorhynchus is derived from Greek words meaning curved beak. The specific epithet is derived from the Latin brunneus, meaning brown, and capillus, meaning hair, in reference to the wren's brown cap and back.

It is the largest wren in the United States, about seven to nine inches long. It resides in the desert area with taller cacti (especially cholla), on arid hillsides and in valleys with other thorny plants capable of supporting its bulky nests.

The cactus wren is an active, inquisitive, and an adaptable bird commonly found in most Arizona deserts, making it an appropriate choice for a state bird.

The cactus wren was officially designated the Arizona state bird by legislative action on March 16, 1931.
Photo: G. Andrejko

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Saguaro Cactus Blossom

Saguaro Cactus Blossom (Cereus giganteus) ~ A.R.S. § 41-855

Saguaro cactus blossoms are creamy white flowers about three inches in diameter with yellow centers.

They are found on the ends of saguaro cacti arms and bloom in May and June. Blooming occurs at night and into the early part of the day.

The blossom survives only about 18 hours. The flowers emit a smell similar to an overripe melon.

A saguaro cactus (right) can reach heights of more than 50 feet and live more than 200 years with very slow growth. It is often found under a nurse plant, like the palo verde (see state tree).

The saguaro blossom was first adopted as the floral emblem of the Arizona Territory. It became the state flower on March 16, 1931.
Photo left: Adam Rodriguez; photo right: Scott Cancelosi

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Saguaro Cactus


State Reptile

Arizona Ridge Nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi willardi) ~ A.R.S. § 41-859

The ridge nosed rattlesnake is a small snake up to 25 inches in length. The snake's body pattern consists of large brown or red-brown patches separated by narrow, light bands.

The underside of the snake is creamy to white and often stained with dark to reddish-brown that gets darker down the length of the snake. Young snakes may have yellowish tails that fade to an olive gray or brown shortly after the second shed. This snake has unique ridges of upturned scales on the tip of the snout and often has a bold white stripe on the face. It is found primarily in the mountains in the southeastern part of Arizona at elevations of 4,800 to 9,000 feet, but it is most often found at 5,400 to 7,500 feet.

The ridge nosed rattlesnake's Latin name comes from crotalum, the Greek word for rattle, and willardi for Frank C. Willard, the Tombstone, Ariz., man who first found the specimen in the wild.
Photo: G. Andrejko

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State Mammal

Ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) ~ A.R.S. § 41-859

The ringtail is a cat-sized mammal with a raccoon-like tail. The ringtail's coat colors range from stony gray to light tan, with longer black-tipped guard hairs.

Colors are paler on the ringtail's sides and dark down the middle of the back. Its feet have five digits, and the pads have no fur. The tail is as long as the body and white underneath. It has many alternating black and white rings and a black tip. The ringtail is found in elevations from zero to 9,500 feet typically near water sources.

The ringtail's Latin name means "smart little fox." It was named the state mammal in 1986.
Photo: G. Andrejko

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State Tree

Palo Verde (Cercidium floridum) ~ A.R.S. § 41-856

The palo verde tree is multi-trunked, fast-growing and deciduous (looses all of its foliage for part of the year). It can reach heights of 40 feet. It is thought to live about 100 years in the wild.

The tree's bark is green to assist in photosynthesis. It has small leaves, but the tree is bare most of the year. The palo verde blooms for two weeks in the spring, usually in April, producing numerous bright yellow flowers.

It can be pollinated by as many as 20 species of bees at one time. Mature seed pods fall to the ground and are eaten by beetles, javelina, and rock squirrels.

The palo verde was selected by the Arizona Legislature as the official state tree in 1954.
Photo: G. Andrejko

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State Fossil

Petrified Wood (Araucarioxylon arizonicum) ~ A.R.S. § 41-853

Petrified wood is the state fossil. Most of the petrified wood in Arizona can be found in the Petrified Forest in northern Arizona.

Remnants of giant trees from ancient forests of the Triassic Period over 200 million years old, these logs turned from wood to rock after they were buried under layers of sand and silt. In some cases, the microscopic structure of the wood was preserved during the process. It is illegal to remove petrified wood from the Petrified Forest National Park. Petrified wood on sale in the park and elsewhere comes from private land outside the park.

Samples of petrified wood can be found at the State Capitol complex in Phoenix.
Photo: Scott Cancelosi

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Tree Frog

Tree Frog (Hyla eximia) ~ A.R.S. § 41-859

This small frog does not grow longer than two inches. Usually, the male is smaller than the female. It is green with a dark stripe that passes through the eye and extends down the side of the body. Sometimes spots will replace the stripe after the shoulder.

Some may have dark spots on the head and upper and lower back. The throat of the male is green or tan. It is usually found in the mountains (elevations above 5,000 feet) of central Arizona and western New Mexico along the Mogollon Rim.

In Arizona, it is found from Williams, Ariz., to the White Mountains in the eastern part of the state. A smaller population may exist in the Huachuca Mountains. They can be found in streams, wet meadows and ditches in Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and other coniferous forests. They may be taken and kept with a valid Arizona hunting license or special permit.
The tree frog's Latin name comes from Hylas, a Greek mythological figure, and eximia, meaning "uncommon."
Photo: G. Andrejko

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Apache Trout

Apache Trout (Oncorhynchus apache) ~ A.R.S. § 41-859

The Apache trout rarely exceeds 10 inches in streams, but may grow to longer than 15 inches in lakes and hatcheries.

The trout's body coloration is golden-yellow or oliveyellow with a golden belly and even distribution of round or oval black spots on top of the head and sides of the body. The dorsal, pelvic and anal fins are tipped with a white or orange color.

It has an orange mark under the jaw. It is currently restricted to the headwaters of the Salt, Little Colorado, and Blue rivers in the White Mountains. It may have also occupied the headwaters of the San Francisco, Black, and White rivers and is found at elevations of 5,780 feet or higher. This species is threatened in Arizona. As of 1995, there were 20 pure and six reintroduced populations. More than 95 percent of original habitat is gone from habitat degradation with the introduction of non-native fish. Recovery efforts are under way.

The Latin name Oncorhynchus apache means "hooked snout" with "Apache" indicating that it was found on the Fort Apache Reservation.
Photo: G. Andrejko

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Bola Tie

Bola Tie ~ A.R.S. § 41-857

The bola tie, which originated in Arizona, became the official neckwear of the state by legislative action on Aug. 13, 1971.

The bola tie, a "new symbol of the west," is crafted by silversmiths and leather makers in almost every conceivable shape, size, and type. The silver bola tie adorned with turquoise is generally considered the official style.

Turquoise is used in many types of jewelry. This bola tie has a turquoise stone used as part of its design.
Photo: Scott Cancelosi

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Turquoise ~ A.R.S. § 41-858

Turquoise is a blue-green, waxy-surfaced stone used for centuries in Native American jewelry.

It can be found throughout the southwest and is composed of hydrous oxide of aluminum and copper. Turquoise was approved as the state gemstone by the Legislature in 1974.

Silver rings, bola ties, and bracelets are just a few of the items that are crafted with the blue-green stone.
Photo: Scott Cancelosi

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Two-tailed Swallowtail

Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata) ~ A.R.S. § 41-858

The most recent addition to Arizona's state symbols is the two-tailed swallowtail butterfly. Swallowtails are the largest species of butterflies in the United States.

It features a wingspan of 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches long. Found only west of the Mississippi River, two-tailed swallowtails are strong flyers. It is bright yellow, although females have a slightly orange cast to their wings.

On the yellow background of each hind wing are seven iridescent blue, rectangular-shaped markings, and two red crescentshaped marks. Four narrow black bars run up and down the forewings. Both forewings and hind wings are edged in black. The key field mark for this butterfly is its two "tails" on each hind wing.

A swallowtail's habitat includes canyonlands, foothills, valleys and woodlands.

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Learn More

Arizona State Symbols brochures are available for school reports. To request a state symbol brochure call (602) 542-4086.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department offers more information about animals in the state of Arizona. Visit the Department's website at

Links to the Arizona Statutes which created the official symbols can be found online at the state legislature's website, Look under the "Legislative Council" link.
Statute books that contain the laws are also available at local libraries. Check your local white pages for a library in your area.

The State Seal

General Information

State seal

The Great State Seal of the State of Arizona, Ditat Deus ~ Arizona Constitution

The official state seal was approved by Article 22, Section 20, of the Arizona Constitution. The state's key enterprises
are symbolized on the face of the seal.

In the background is a range of mountains with the sun rising behind the peaks.

At the right side of the range of mountains there is a storage reservoir and a dam, below which, in the middle distance, are irrigated fields and
orchards reaching into the foreground with grazing cattle to the right.

To the left, the middle distance depicts a mountainside with a quartz mill. In the foreground is a miner with a pick and shovel. Above this is the motto "Ditat Deus," meaning God enriches.

In a circular band surrounding the seal is inscribed "Great Seal of the State of Arizona" and the year of admission to the Union, 1912.

The official state seal is the one described in the Arizona Constitution, but a color version has also been used by state agencies.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett grants or denies permission to use the Great Seal of Arizona under A.R.S. § 41-130. Any person who wishes to use the state seal must put the request in writing to the Secretary of State. More information can be found online at under Office of the Secretary, Administration.

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Uses of the State Seal

The Secretary of State's Office is required under the law to be the official keeper of the state seal. Secretary of State Ken Bennett acts as the official custodian under A.R.S. § 41-121(3). Secretary Bennett affixes the great seal, with his attestation, to public instruments to which the official signature of the governor is attached under A.R.S. § 41-121(4). It is attached to proclamations, certified copies of filed documents, election canvass and the Presidential Elector Ballot - Certificate of Vote that is filed with the president of the U.S. Senate and the National Archives and Records Administration, among other public records.

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