There are nineteen official symbols of the US state of Minnesota, as designated by the Minnesota Legislature. The first named symbol is the state's motto, L'Étoile du Nord – French for "Star of the North". It was selected in 1861, shortly after Minnesota achieved statehood, by the first governor, Henry Sibley, as a reflection of Minnesota's location in the Northern United States. That same year, the state seal was appointed. Minnesota did not designate another official symbol until 1945, when "Hail! Minnesota", then the official song of the University of Minnesota, was designated as state song. In 1984, Minnesota became the first state to appoint a state mushroom, the common morel (Morchella esculenta).
Minnesota schoolchildren have been the force behind the successful promotion of four official symbols: the blueberry muffin (1988), the monarch butterfly (2000), the Honeycrisp apple (2006), and ice hockey (2009). The 1918 black-and-white photograph Grace, taken by Eric Enstrom in Bovey and later reproduced as a color painting by his daughter, was named state photograph in 2002. The newest symbol of Minnesota is the rusty patched bumblebee, declared the state bee in 2019. In addition, many other symbols have been proposed as representations of the state, but for various reasons have been unsuccessful. Suggested animals have included the white-tailed deer, the northern leopard frog, the eastern timber wolf, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, and the Blanding's turtle. Through the years, the state legislature has also voted on unsuccessful bills to designate the Tilt-A-Whirl as official amusement ride, the works Little House on the Prairie and On the Banks of Plum Creek as state book, "Minnesota Blue" as official poem, as well as the appointment of a poet laureate position.
|Bee||Rusty patched bumblebee
|Once widespread across the United States, the rusty patched bumblebee has lost up to 90% of its range since the 2000s. Sightings in the 2010s were primarily reported around several upper Midwest urban areas; a third of these were in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.||2019|
|Beverage||Milk||Minnesota annually produces 9.7 billion pounds of milk, and among all states is ranked fifth in overall dairy production. Milk was adopted as the state beverage due to its promotional value for the American Dairy Association; its ability to encourage tourism and increase awareness for dairy products; and as a signal to the state's dairy industry that Minnesota cares for it.||1984|
|An estimated 12,000 common loons reside in Minnesota. Originally, eight bird choices were proposed in the late 1940s, which in addition to the common loon included the eastern goldfinch, the mourning dove, the pileated woodpecker, the scarlet tanager, and the wood duck. Each of these were eligible because they were not the state birds of another state. A decision was delayed due to citizen indecision, but a letter-writing campaign over a decade after the original proposal led to the selection of the loon.||1961|
|The monarch migrates to Minnesota during midsummer, where approximately four generations are born each year. It was promoted as state butterfly by several students of Oscar Henry Anderson Elementary School from Mahtomedi. The bill's co-sponsor, State Representative Harry Mares, said that "a lot of people have an early introduction to the magical world of nature through the monarch, and as we get older it becomes a thread that takes us through science to beauty and aesthetics."||2000|
|The Star Tribune writes that the walleye is Minnesota's most popular fish, and it serves as "the mainstay of sport fishing" in the state. The walleye lives in every watery part of Minnesota, but prefers the cooler lakes of the northern part of the state. It was first proposed as the state fish in 1953.||1965|
|Flag||Flag of Minnesota||The Minnesota flag is royal blue with a gold fringe, and has the state seal displayed at its center. The state flower, the pink-and-white lady's slipper, comprises a wreath surrounding the seal. Minnesota was the nineteenth state to join the United States after the original 13 colonies (Minnesota was the 32nd state to join the union); this is reflected in the flag's nineteen stars, with the largest representing the North Star. The flag also displays the word "Minnesota" as well as the state's motto, L'Étoile du Nord. The flag's current design was adopted in 1957, and has since undergone numerous proposed, though unsuccessful, revisions.||1957|
|Flower||Pink-and-white lady's slipper
|The pink-and-white lady's slipper is found in swamps, bogs, and damp woods. It has largely disappeared due to habitat loss; as one of Minnesota's rarest wildflowers, the lady's slipper is illegal to pick in the state.||1967|
|The Honeycrisp apple was designed by University of Minnesota researchers to endure Minnesota's harsh winter climate. It was proposed as the state fruit by Andersen Elementary School students from Bayport.||2006|
|Gemstone||Lake Superior agate||Found in the northeastern and north central parts of Minnesota, the Lake Superior agate consists of quartz blended with the red and orange effects that come from soil rich in iron ore.||1969|
|Wild rice grows in central and northern Minnesota lakes, and for a long time was produced nowhere else. As of 2013, Minnesota produces 80 percent of all natural wild rice. The Ojibwe people hold it sacred, believing it was given to them by their Creator.||1977|
|Motto||L'Étoile du Nord||L'Étoile du Nord is French for "Star of the North". It was chosen by Henry Sibley, the state's first governor, shortly after the Minnesota territory became a state in 1858. Sibley selected it as a reflection of Minnesota's location so far north in the US.||1861|
|Muffin||Blueberry muffin||Northeastern Minnesota is home to wild blueberries, where they grow in bogs and forests. The blueberry muffin was proposed as a state food by South Terrace Elementary students from Carlton, who were learning about the state legislature and its laws in their civics class.||1988|
|In the spring, morel mushrooms can be found in Minnesota fields and forests. They primarily grow in the southwest, northern, and middle parts of the state, and are popular with gourmet cooks.||1984|
|Photograph||Grace||Grace depicts a man sitting "at a table bowed in thankful prayer before a modest meal." The original 1918 black-and-white photograph was taken by Eric Enstrom in Bovey. Enstrom's daughter later reproduced it as a color painting, leading to its wide distribution in homes and churches throughout the US.||2002|
|Seal||Minnesota State Seal||Minnesota's official seal stresses the importance of farming through its depiction of a plowing farmer, standing near St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River; nearby is a Native American on a horse, who serves as a representation of the state's first peoples. The seal also contains the state motto, L'Étoile du Nord.||1861|
|Soil||Lester||Named after the town of Lester Prairie, Lester is a nutrient-rich soil ideal for the growing of pasture grasses and crops such as soybeans and corn. It is present in approximately sixteen Minnesota counties and covers over 400,000 acres. Lester was chosen by the Minnesota Association of Professional Soil Scientists for fitting four criteria: it is based in Minnesota, is extensively located and economically important, and is photogenic. Minnesota is the 22nd state to have an official soil.||2012|
|Song||"Hail! Minnesota"||Between 1904 and 1905, Minnesota's state song was written by two University of Minnesota students; it served as the school's official song until 1945, when it was adopted as state song. The "Minnesota Rouser" eventually replaced it as the university's official song.||1945|
|Sport||Ice hockey||Minnetonka Middle School East students first proposed ice hockey as the state sport in 2007. One of the children explained their choice, "One of the best reasons hockey should be our state sport is because Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and they all freeze up to make great hockey rinks." The bill was co-sponsored by State Senator David Tomassoni, a former hockey player.||2009|
|The Norway pine, also known as the red pine, has historically been vital to Minnesota's economy, especially during its early settlement. It can grow between 60 and 100 feet (18 and 30 m) tall. The tallest Minnesota specimen, which is over 300 years old, is found in Itasca State Park.||1953|
Minnesota has three nicknames: "Land of 10,000 Lakes", which evolved from the desire of early settlers to advertise the state's large number of lakes to attract more people; "Gopher State", which was inspired by an early political cartoon criticizing the construction of several railroads in the mid-1800s; and "North Star State", a reference to both the state motto and Minnesota's position as the northernmost point in the contiguous United States. The Minnesota North Stars, the state's hockey team from 1967 to 1993, also derived its name from the state motto.
Many other symbols have been proposed for addition to the list of official state symbols but were never officially adopted. Since 1971, the white-tailed deer has been proposed as the state mammal eight times. Other creatures proposed as representations of the state have included the northern leopard frog, the eastern timber wolf, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, and the Blanding's turtle. In 2007, another proposal, also unsuccessful, was to designate the Tilt-A-Whirl as the state's official amusement ride. It was invented in Faribault in 1926, and debuted at the Minnesota State Fair a year later.
In 2005, the state legislature overwhelmingly voted in favor of appointing a state poet laureate, a position offered by 34 other states. Governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed the measure, believing that the state could "benefit from the richness and diversity of all of the poets in Minnesota and recognize and embrace their work as merit and circumstances warrant." "Minnesota Blue", a 1985 poem by state native and poet-songwriter Cordell Keith Haugen, has been unsuccessfully proposed as state poem. Five other states have official poems. Proposals for state book have included two of Laura Ingalls Wilder's works, Little House on the Prairie and On the Banks of Plum Creek.