By Zoe Bedard
Living in Tennessee, you can see that it is one of the most diverse states in America. With over 300 different types of birds and over 70 different species of mammals, you’d be surprised that we have some indigenous, or native, species as well.
Everyone knows about our state’s flower, the Iris. It became the state flower in 1933, after legislation declared it a state cultivated flower. It is known for its purple petals and its long stem. Many people love the Iris because it grows easily in Tennessee. Among the many plants in Tennessee, one plant that makes us unique is the “Tulip tree” or the Liriodendrion tulipifera. It is the tallest growing tree in Tennessee, growing up to 70 feet at maturity. It is called the tulip tree for it’s tulip shaped leaves and cup like flowers.
Tennessee’s forest and parks are known to be homes to many species of animals including a few who are native to our state. The Bobcat for example, who is known for their tall ears, broad body, and their amazing hunting skills, is an indigenous state animal. They prefer our thick forest areas with lots of underbrush. The Bobcat is known to be a great animal to hunt for game. Another animal that is indigenous in Tennessee is the Mockingbird. It is our state bird and is known for its ability to sing over 200 different tunes. They are best known for mimicking the sounds of other animals and creatures.
One last amazing animal that’s indigenous in Tennessee is the Cave Salamander. Living naturally in the caves and streams, the pink salamander is nocturnal, and feeds off of aquatic insects and invertebrates.
Tennessee is home to hundreds of beautiful animals and creatures, so having a few indigenous species isn’t a surprise. The more you research about them and the more you see how amazing some of them are you realize how truly beautiful Tennessee is.