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  • State Symbols

    State Coat of Arms and Motto

    The committee to design a Coat of Arms was appointed by legislative action February 7, 1894, and the design proposed by that committee was accepted and became the official Coat of Arms. The committee recommended for the Coat of Arms a "Shield in color blue, with an eagle upon it with extended pinions, holding in the right talon a palm branch and a bundle of arrows in the left talon, with the word "Mississippi" above the eagle; the lettering on the shield and the eagle to be in gold; below the shield two branches of the cotton stalk, saltierwise, as in submitted design, and a scroll below extending upward and one each side three-fourths of the length of the shield; upon the scroll, which is to be red, the motto be printed in gold letters upon white spaces, as in design accompanying, the motto to be –VIRTUTE et ARMIS" which means by valor and arms.


    The State Bird

    Found in all sections of Mississippi, the cheerful Mockingbird was selected as the official State Bird by the Women's Federated Clubs and by the State Legislature in 1944. The mockingbird can mimic the sounds of other birds and animals and can sing loudly for hours.


    The State Flower and Tree

    An election was held in November 1900 to select a state flower. Votes were submitted by 23,278 school children. The magnolia received 12,745 votes; the cotton blossom 4,171; and the cape jasmine 2,484. There were a few votes for other flowers. The magnolia was officially designated as the State Flower by the 1952 Legislature. In 1935, the Director of Forestry started a movement by which to select a State Tree for Mississippi, to be selected by nomination and election by the school children of the State. Four nominations were made–the magnolia, oak, pine and dogwood. The magnolia received by far the largest majority. On April 1, 1938, the Mississippi Legislature officially designated the magnolia as the State Tree.


    The State Flag

    The committee to design a state flag was appointed by legislative action February 7, 1894, and provided that the flag reported by the committee should become the official flag. The committee recommended for the flag "one with width two-thirds of its length; with the union square, in width two-thirds of the width of the flag; the ground of the union to be red and a broad blue saltier thereon, bordered with white and emblazoned with thirteen (13) mullets or five-pointed stars, corresponding with the number of the original States of the Union; the field to be divided into three bars of equal width, the upper one blue, the center one white, and the lower one extending the whole length of the flag, red--the national colors; the staff surmounted with a spear-head and a battle-axe below; the flag to be fringed with gold, and the staff gilded with gold."


    The State Waterfowl

    The Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) was designated the state waterfowl of Mississippi, Chapter 551, General Laws of Mississippi of 1974. Mississippi boasts more than a million acres of prime game habitat in 36 State Wildlife Management areas and National Wildlife Refuges open for public hunting, including marshy waterfowl havens. For information about hunting in Mississippi, call (601) 362-9212 or (toll free in-state only) 1-800-628-7852. You may purchase a hunting or fishing license online, or you can call 1-800-5GO-HUNT.


    The State Fish

    The Largemouth or Black Bass (Micropterus salmoides) was designated the state fish of Mississippi, Chapter 551, General Laws of Mississippi of 1974. Call 1-800-ASK-FISH for weekly fishing reports. Check out the MS Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks site for more information about fishing in Mississippi.


    The State Insect

    The Honeybee (Apis mellifera) was designated the state insect of Mississippi, Chapter 317, General Laws of Mississippi of 1980. The common Honeybee is one of the most celebrated insects throughout history due to the thick liquid they create-honey! Honey is harvested throughout Mississippi and is often sold at farmers markets and produce stands. Check out the Mississippi Beekeepers Association website for more information.


    The State Shell

    An act designating the Oyster Shell (Crassostrea virginica) as the state shell was approved April 12, 1974, Chapter 551, General Laws of Mississippi of 1974. The American oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is one of the more valuable resources of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Find out more about oystering at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources website.


    The State Water Mammal

    An act designating the Bottlenosed Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), commonly called the Porpoise, as the state water mammal was approved April 12, 1974, Chapter 551, General Laws of Mississippi of 1974. Commonly seen along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Bottlenosed Dolphins are intelligent and gregarious creatures and are often the subject of movies and TV shows, such as Flipper. In 2008, the Mississippi State Tax Commission approved a new "Protect Dolphins" license plate that will benefit the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization. The plates are currently available at your local county tax collector's office.


    The State Song

    Go, Mississippi - Words and Music by Houston Davis


    States may sing their songs of praise
    With waving flags and hip-hoo-rays,
    Let cymbals crash and let bells ring
    'Cause here's one song I'm proud to sing.


    Go, Mississippi, keep rolling along,
    Go, Mississippi, you cannot go wrong,
    Go, Mississippi, we're singing your song,

    Go, Mississippi, you're on the right track,
    Go, Mississippi, and this is a fact,
    Go, Mississippi, you'll never look back,

    Go, Mississippi, straight down the line,
    Go, Mississippi, ev'rything's fine,
    Go, Mississippi, it's your state and mine,

    Go, Mississippi, continue to roll,
    Go, Mississippi, the top is the goal,
    Go, Mississippi, you'll have and you'll hold,

    Go, Mississippi, get up and go,
    Go, Mississippi, let the world know,
    That our Mississippi is leading the show,

    The State Fossil

    A Senate Concurrent Resolution, designating the prehistoric whale as the state fossil, was adopted March 26, 1981.

    The State Stone

    A Senate Concurrent Resolution, designating petrified wood as the state stone, was adopted May 14, 1976. The Mississippi Petrified Forest is a privately operated park and museum located at 124 Forest Park Road, Flora, Mississippi. For more information call (601) 879-8189.

    The State Beverage

    Milk was designated the official state beverage of Mississippi in 1984. Milk has been called a nearly perfect food – a source of protein, calcium, and several other important nutrients.