Tennessee's flag was designed by LeRoy Reeves of the Third Regiment, Tennessee Infantry. His explanation of the design:
"The three stars are of pure white, representing the three grand division of the state, East, Middle, and West. They are bound together by the endless circle of the blue field, the symbol being three bound together in one - an indissouluble trinity. The large field is crimson. The final blue bar relieves the sameness of the crimson field and prevents the flag from showing too much crimson when hanging limp. The white edgings contrast more strongly the other colors."
The Tennessee state seal features the Roman numeral XVI to signify that Tennessee was the 16th state to enter the Union in 1796. The plow, sheaf of wheat ,and cotton stalk are symbols of Tennessee agriculture, and the riverboat represents the importance of river traffic to commerce in the state. Tennessee's official state motto is also "Agriculture and Commerce."
Tennessee recognized the iris (Genus Iridaceae) as the state cultivated flower in 1933. The iris flower comes in a variety of colors, but the purple iris is commonly accepted as the state flower of Tennessee. "When it's Iris Time in Tennessee" (by Willa Waid Newman) is one of Tennessee's state songs.
The tulip poplar (Liriodendron Tulipifera) was officially recognized as the state tree of Tennessee in 1947. The tulip poplar grows abundantly throughout Tennessee and pioneers of the state used the tulip poplar to construct houses and farm buildings.
Tennessee selected the mockingbird (genus Mimus polyglottos) as official state bird in 1933, selected from an election conducted by the Tennessee Ornithological Society. Northern Mockingbirds are related to the brown thrasher and the catbird.
Mockingbirds have extraordinary vocal abilities - they can sing up to 200 songs, including their own melodious songs, the songs of other birds, insect and amphibian sounds, even an occasional mechanical noise. The mockingbird is considered one of the finest songbirds in northern America.
The raccoon was adopted as Tennessee's wild animal symbol in 1971. The common raccoon (Procyon lotor) is a mammal native to the Americas. The name "raccoon" is derived from the Algonquian Indian word "aroughcoune," which means "he who scratches with his hands." Raccoons range over the entire USA except for the Rockies and desert southwest.
Tennessee designated the smallmouth bass as official state game fish in 2005. Tennessee recognizes a state commercial fish as well (the channel catfish).