You could say that all states have quirks – except maybe Texas, which has more than just a few. Here are nine official Texas state symbols you may not know.
1. State Pepper
If you can’t stand the heat – you better find somewhere else to take your boots off. The native pepper, known as the chiltepin, is one of the hottest peppers in the world. Pronounced “chili-pe-keen”, this little round pepper is comparable to a habanero. The state’s non-native official pepper is the jalapeño, but it is relatively mild in comparison.
2. State Bread
Pan de Campo was named the official State bread in 2005. This cowboy throw-back is cooked in a Dutch oven over an open camp fire. Its origins date back to the Wild West when cowboys drove cattle north to market.
3. State Dish
Nope, not barbecue. Cooking in Texas means that you know how to throw together a mean pot of chili. This official state dish is showcased at cook-offs around the state. Some like it hot, and some like it hotter!
4. State Pie
Who doesn’t love pecan pie? If you are from Texas, you know that pecan pie is a staple at any gathering. In fact, in 2013 the Texas Legislature made pecan pie the state pie. Yes, that’s right. Texans – go ahead and indulge yourselves. After all, you can’t say no to the official state pie. Can you?
5. State Dinosaur
We grow them bigger in Texas – but maybe a Paluxysaurus is more than what you bargained for. Bones from the Texas State Dinosaur were found near Waco, Texas, in the mid-1980s. This dinosaur was 70-feet-long and 12-feet-high at the shoulders, making it one of the largest creatures to ever roam the Earth. I guess it is only fitting that was found in the Lone Star State.
6. State Tall Ship
Texas also enjoys its coastline. The Lone Star State even named “The Elissa” the State Tall Ship. This Ninteenth Century Scottish ship is housed in the port of Galveston. It is one of the oldest genuine sailboats in commission. But, it’s not Texas’s state ship also. That distinction goes to the battleship U.S.S. Texas, which now resides in La Porte, Texas.
7. State Mammals
You might be surprised to learn that Texas has two state animals: the longhorn (Large Mammal) and the armadillo (Small Mammal) as state animals. Don’t forget that free-tailed bat – he’s the state flying mammal.
8. State Reptile
If you grew up in rural Texas, you may have seen an occasional Texas horned lizard. These state reptiles live off of red harvester ants. Since the invasion of fire ants (yes, it was clearly an attack!), both harvester ants and Texas horned lizards have found themselves on the decline. Look, but don’t touch. The reptile is one the list of Texas protected species.
9. State Sport
And, as for the State Sport? Most would guess that the State Sport would be football. After all, Friday Night Fever does spread from Brownsville to the Panhandle. But, the official state sport is the rodeo. In 1997, the State of Texas recognized the rodeo as having the most influence in the State.