USA Newspapers Official Georgia State Flower


Cherokee Rose

(Rosa laevigata)
Adopted on August 18, 1916.


On August 18, 1916 with the support of the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs, the Cherokee rose, Rosa laevigata,  was named the state floral emblem. The name "Cherokee Rose" is a local designation derived from the Cherokee Indians who widely distributed the plant.


Legend of the Cherokee Rose

When the Trail of Tears started in 1838, the mothers of the Cherokee were grieving and crying so much, they were unable to help their children survive the journey. The elders prayed for a sign that would lift the mother's spirits to give them strength. The next day a beautiful rose began to grow where each of the mother's tears fell. The rose is white for their tears; a gold center represents the gold taken from Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem for the seven Cherokee clans. The wild Cherokee Rose grows along the route of the Trail of Tears into eastern Oklahoma today.


Native to China, this rose has naturalized across much of the southeastern United States. This climbing evergreen rose produces long, thorny, vine-like canes that sprawl across adjacent shrubs and other supports. The pure white single flowers appear in spring and are densely arranged along the length of the canes. The plant can reach 10' to 12' in height and 15' or more wide.

  • Habit: Deciduous
  • Exposure: Sun to partial shade; range of soil types
  • Height: 10' to 12' in height and 15' or more wide
  • Flower/Fruit: 3 to 4" white fragrant flowers in spring
  • Fragrance: Strong or slight, opinions vary


Georgia General Assembly

No. 42


Whereas, In many of the States of the Union some flower indigenous to the soil of the State has been chosen as an emblem of its sovereignty; and

Whereas, Hitherto the General Assembly of Georgia has made no such selection; and

Whereas, The Cherokee Rose, having its origin among the aborigines of the northern portion of the State of Georgia, is indigenous to its soil, and grows with equal luxuriance in every county of the State,

Be it therefore by the House of Representatives of Georgia, the Senate concurring, resolved, That, at the suggestion and request of the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs, the Cherokee Rose be and the same is hereby adopted as and declared to be the floral emblem of the State of Georgia.

Approved August 18, 1916.


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae –
Order Rosales –
Family Rosaceae – Rose family
Genus Rosa L. – rose
Species Rosa laevigata Michx. – Cherokee rose