State Symbols

I have been reading through the history links finding out about all of our state’s symbols. We have an official everything! For instance, you probably won’t be surprised to know that the Scuppernong is our state fruit,

but did you know we also have two state berries, red and blue. The official blue berry is the Blue Berry and the official red berry is the Strawberry.

We also have an official state rock, granite-“the noble rock”.. Mt. Airy has the largest open face granite quarry in the world.

Our state stone, not to be confused with the state rock, is the emerald.

NC has over 300 varieties of minerals, more than have been found in any other state, including valuable gems. From statesymbolsusa.org:

An emerald crystal thought to be the largest ever found in North America (weight 1869 carats) was found in 2003 near Statesville, North Carolina. A 71-carat stone unearthed at the same location (a mine in Hiddenite) yielded two finished stones – the Carolina Prince that sold for $500,000 (7.85 carats), and the Carolina Queen (weight 18.88 carats).

NC’s state dog is the the Plott Hound (hence carolinaplotthound.com)

not to be confused with our state mammal the Eastern Gray Squirrel.


The Scotch Bonnet is the state shell.

Also from the coastal area, the endangered Venus Fly Trap is our state plant.

A good place to see them is Carolina Beach State Park.


Presumably, due to a high number of Scottish settlers, we also have a state tartan.

The Pine is our state tree, but did you know that the Fraser Fir Tree is our state Christmas Tree?

It was recognized in 2005 after 8th graders from Harris Middle School in Spruce Pine researched the fir’s economic impact and lobbied the state government. It is named for John Fraser, a Scottish botanist who explored the Appalachian Mountains in the 1700s.

Our state motto is “Esse Quam Videri” which means “to be rather than to seem”. Substance over style!

Carolina comes from Carolus, Latin for Charles. It honors King Charles I of England

who made the original land grant in 1629 to Sir Robert Heath.

We became North Carolina in 1729 when the colony divided. North Carolina is called the Old North State because it had the older settlements.

If you want to find out about some more of our state symbols, this site is pretty informative.

I leave you with our state toast, written by Leonora Martin and Mary Burke Kerr in 1904:

           Here’s to the land of the cotton bloom white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
‘Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!

Here’s to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron’s rosette glows,
Where soars Mount Mitchell’s summit great,
In the “Land of the Sky,” in the Old North State!

Here’s to the land where maidens are fair,
Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
The near land, the dear land whatever fate,
The best land, the best land, the Old North State!

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