It’s funny where learning opportunities come from. I, like many others, have long thought that the Long Leaf Pine was the official state tree of North Carolina. I don’t know why, how, or when I started thinking it was – it just was. Something you hear from a young age (before the Internet) and blindly accept as the gospel.
While the Long Leaf Pine may not be our state tree, it does get a shout out in our official state toast; “A Toast” to North Carolina, which was adopted as such in General Statues Chapter 149 (§ 149-2) in 1957.
FUN FACT: This was also the legislation that declared, “The Old North State” as our state song.
We’ll get to THE North Carolina state tree, and to the toast itself, in just a few minutes. First, I want to share the path of this learning opportunity.
I’m not the most proud about how this came about. I mean, I wish I could say it was out of a case of curiosity and wanting to know more about my great state of North Carolina – but it was not. I wish I could say I learned my mistake via teaching my Son about his great state of North Carolina – but it was not.
Actually, hold on a second …
Felt I needed to go ahead and take the opportunity to correct when I told him earlier (years ago) that the Long Leaf Pine was our state tree. So, with a little chagrin, I will tell you how it came to this.
Our story begins just a few weeks ago when I created a hat with a Long Leaf Pine on it. I added it to the store as another way to celebrate and show some love for North Carolina – and I wanted a tree hat. Then, as a dutiful shop owner, I decided to write a post to help market the hat. The general thrust of the post was to inform the reader about our state tree – the Long Leaf Pine.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the next few hours of research tore to shreds everything that I held to be true, fact even, about our state tree. So, this learning opportunity was strictly a marketing ploy, via this blog, to draw attention to my cool new hat that is now available in our store for $19.95! 🙂
Back to the our state tree…
Turns out, all 8 varieties of the Pine became our state tree in the 1963 North Carolina General Assembly – House Bill 10. Apparently, the Garden Clubs of North Carolina had been lobbying for the Pine starting back in 1959. In addition to their efforts, the Pine was a very important resource back in the day for naval ship building – not to mention its use for general civilian construction. The tar and rosin, extracted from the trees, was used to waterproof the wooden ships. North Carolina was a major supplier to the world of Pine tree related extracts in the 1800s. As a result, the powers that be at the time did not want to distinguish one of the pine varieties over another, so we got them all.
Even though North Carolina is sharing the love for all Pines, the Long Leaf Pine is a standout. We see this in not only the state toast, but also as one of the most prestigious awards the Governor can give – The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Notable past recipients of the award include; Micheal Jordan, Coretta Scott King, Charles Kuralt, Dale Earnhart. Bob Timberlake, and Oprah Winfrey – just to name a few.
So, there is my story of how I came to realize that for way too many years I was falsely elevating the Long Leaf Pine above other Pines as our state tree. And as promised, here is “A Toast” to North Carolina:
“Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here’s to ‘Down Home,’ the Old North State!
“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 blest land, the best land, the Old North State!”
Thanks for reading, and talk to you again soon!