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The state tree of North Carolina is the pine tree, according to the official designation by the 1963 General Assembly. No single species was designated due to the fact that there are eight species of pine tree indigenous to the state. Pine trees grow quickly and can adapt to changing soil conditions in this state, which features areas of sandy soil, rich earth, and red clay. Pine trees were an important state resource in colonial times, and in modern times pines provide lumber for construction.
Some sources reference a specific species, the longleaf pine, as the state tree of North Carolina. This confusion appears to stem from the reference to the longleaf pine in the state's official toast. In fact, due to the ubiquity of pine trees of various species throughout the state, the official state tree of North Carolina does not refer to a specific species. Types of pine trees native to North Carolina include the Virginia pine, longleaf pine, pitch pine, loblolly pine, and Eastern white pine.
The pine tree was chosen as the state tree of North Carolina due to its role in the state nickname "The Tar Heel State." Up to the middle 1800s, pine trees were vital in this area for the production of the majority of tar, turpentine, rosin, and pitch for use throughout the U.S. As of 2011, pine wood still plays an important role as the source of nearly half of the lumber used in the construction industry.
In addition to being the state tree of North Carolina, the pine tree or a specific variety of pine has been designated the official state tree in nine other U.S. states. These states are Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Alabama, Maine, Arkansas, Michigan, and Montana. North Carolina has also designated an official state Christmas tree: the Fraser fir.
The state flower is the American dogwood, while the official state wildflower is the Carolina lily. The state vegetable is the sweet potato. North Carolina has also named the Venus flytrap as its official state carnivorous plant.
North Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies developed along the Atlantic coast of what is now the United States. The state is named after King Charles I, who granted the charter for settling this area. In addition to being called the Tar Heel State, North Carolina is also nicknamed "The Old North State," as referenced in the title of the state song.