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Minnesota State Symbols


Welcome to the Land of 10,000 Lakes! Minnesota has the perfect state bird and grain, the common loon and wild rice. However, Minnesota is also nicknamed the North Star State, and the state motto (which translates “Star of the North”) and state flower both made their mark on its flag. (Continued below)

Minnesota state flag Minnesota state seal
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames The North Star State, Land of 10,000 Lakes, Gopher State, Bread and Butter State  
Symbols of State
Motto L’Étoile du Nord 1861
Song Hail! Minnesota! 1945
Flower pink and white lady slipper (Cypripedium reginae) 1902
(former) lady slipper (Cyprideum calceolous) 1893
Tree red or Norway pine (Pinus resinosa) 1953
Grain wild rice (Zizania palustris) 1977
Fruit Honeycrisp apple (Malus domestica) 2006
Berry blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) 1988
Mushroom morel (Morchella esculenta) 1984
Bird common loon (Gavia immer) 1961
Fish walleye (Sander vitreus) 1965
Butterfly monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) 2000
Bee rusty-patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis) 2019
Gemstone Lake Superior agate 1969
Soil Lester 2012
Cultural Symbols
Sport ice hockey 2009
Muffin blueberry muffin 1998
Beverage milk Redundant Symbol 1984
Tartan Minnesota Tartan 2002
Photograph Grace 2002

Unfortunately, Minnesota’s flag is an embarrassment. It is one of the ugliest state flags and is widely condemned as racist to boot. Fortunately, there is growing interest in adopting a new flag, and there is already a popular candidate—dubbed the North Star Flag—waiting in the wings.

Could a new flag campaign be as exciting as Minnesota’s state sport, ice hockey? Let’s just say that’s comparing apples and oranges (Honeycrisp apples in Minnesota’s case).

Another epic battle has long raged over the title state mammal, with the white-tailed deer and wolf both supported by powerful lobbies. Ironically, another mammal was recently adopted as Maine’s state fossil, one that well represents a land of countless lakes. Can you guess what it is?

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If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.

You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)

After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.

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