What Is The State Flower Of Georgia?

The Cherokee Rose, also known under its scientific name rosa laevigata, is Georgia’s state flower. The name “Cherokee Rose” is derived from the Cherokee Native American tribe that inhabited the region.

Symbolically, the Cherokee Rose represents resilience, stamina, beauty, fragility, togetherness, and heritage.


Most people think that the official state flower of Georgia is the peach, but it is not: it is the beautiful Cherokee Rose.

The General Assembly designated the Cherokee Rose as Georgia’s official state flower in 1916. With its rich symbolism and captivating charm, this floral emblem captures the essence of Georgia’s spirit.

So, whether you’re a resident or just curious about this beautiful state’s flower,  join us as we walk through the history, meaning, and symbolism of the Cherokee Rose, as well as learn more about its appearance and gardening tips.

History Of The Cherokee Rose

The Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata), also known as Snow White, is a plant that can grow up to 20 feet in height and is native to Southern China and Taiwan. However, it gained prominence in Georgia, United States, where it was introduced around 1780.

In recognition of its cultural significance, the Cherokee Rose was designated as Georgia’s state flower through legislative action in 1916.

It is also referred to as Georgia’s official state “floral emblem.” Its selection reflects Georgia’s commitment to honoring cultural heritage and promoting environmental conservation.

The Cherokee Rose is not just a flower to the Cherokee people; it holds deep cultural significance and carries a powerful symbolism that resonates with their history, values, and traditions.

The significance attached to the Cherokee Rose goes beyond its historical context. It also holds spiritual meaning for many Cherokees today.


The flower is believed to possess protective qualities, warding off negative energy and bringing blessings upon those who embrace its symbolism. It serves as a talisman against harm and misfortune.

Cherokee Roses continue to grow along the Trail of Tears route to Oklahoma Territory even today – serving as a poignant reminder of history.

Despite its association with pain and suffering, due to its visual attractiveness and sweet clove-like fragrance when it blooms in early spring, it can also be gifted on happy occasions – symbolizing strength and determination.

Moreover, ceremonies often incorporate elements associated with this revered flower.

During important gatherings or celebrations, individuals may wear garlands made from Cherokee Roses as an expression of honor and respect for their heritage.


Symbolism and Meaning

It is said to symbolize love and purity while also serving as a reminder of resilience and strength. It symbolizes how strength can be found even in times of great sorrow.

The flower’s symbolism also represents the pain and suffering endured during the Trail of Tears with its petals reflecting tears shed and its golden core symbolizing greediness.

Unique Characteristics of the Cherokee Rose

The Cherokee Rose, Georgia’s state flower, possesses several unique characteristics that set it apart from other roses.

One of its most distinctive features is its bristly stem covered in thorns. These thorns serve as a protective mechanism against predators or unwanted intruders, making the Cherokee Rose a formidable plant to reckon with.

The presence of thorns on the stem not only acts as a deterrent but also contributes to the rose’s ability to climb and sprawl across different surfaces.

The sharp prickles provide grip, enabling the plant to latch onto structures like fences or walls, creating an enchanting sight when it gracefully cascades down.

Despite its prickly nature, this rose showcases remarkable beauty when in bloom.

The Cherokee Rose carries more than just aesthetic appeal; it blooms twice a year under favorable conditions – once in late March or April and possibly again in the autumn.

Its fruit is pear-shaped, bristly and rich in vitamin C – which is consumed by wild birds thereby aiding seed dispersion. Moreover, due to its high-climbing nature and vivid green leaves, it serves practical uses such as adorning fences, trellises, and walls or forming well-suited hedges – applications extensively used in the South.

Its delicate white petals contrast beautifully against the dark green foliage and vibrant red-orange hips that follow after flowering.

This captivating combination makes the Cherokee Rose a favorite among gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike.

To further appreciate this unique flower’s connection with Georgia’s coastal region, consider its association with another local icon – the knobbed whelk shell. Just like how these shells wash ashore along Georgia’s beaches, adorning them with natural beauty, so too does the Cherokee Rose grace our landscapes with its splendor.


Appreciating the Beauty and Symbolism of the Cherokee Rose

In conclusion, the Cherokee Rose holds immense significance as Georgia’s state flower.

Its symbolism runs deep within the hearts of the Cherokee people, representing love, resilience, and hope.

The history of the Cherokee Rose as Georgia’s official floral emblem further emphasizes its importance.

It serves as a reminder of the rich cultural heritage that has shaped this great state. Its association with the Trail of Tears highlights the hardships endured by the Cherokee people and their unwavering spirit.

While controversies and debates surround Georgia’s choice for a state flower, there is no denying the allure and significance of the Cherokee Rose. Its beauty transcends boundaries and speaks to our shared humanity.

As you explore Georgia’s natural wonders, take a moment to appreciate this remarkable flower. Let it serve as a reminder to cherish our diverse heritage and celebrate nature’s abundance in all its forms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes the Cherokee Rose significant to Georgia?

The Cherokee Rose is significant to Georgia because it has been designated as the state’s official floral emblem. It represents love, resilience, and hope for both the Cherokee people and Georgians alike.

How does the bristly stem add uniqueness to the Cherokee Rose?

The bristly stem sets apart this flower from others. Its prickly texture adds character and serves as a protective feature against potential threats in its natural habitat.

Can you describe what the Cherokee Rose looks like?

Certainly! The Cherokee Rose boasts large white petals that contrast beautifully against its dark green leaves. Its delicate appearance is complemented by golden yellow stamens at its center.

What role did the Wild Cherokee Rose play along the Trail of Tears?

The Wild Cherokee Rose grew abundantly along the Trail of Tears during forced removals of the Cherokee people. It served as a symbol of hope and resilience, reminding them of their homeland during times of great hardship.

Are there any controversies surrounding Georgia’s choice for a state flower?

Yes, there have been debates regarding whether the Cherokee Rose is an appropriate choice for Georgia’s state flower. Some argue that it neglects the contributions of other cultures within the state.

How can I appreciate the beauty of the Cherokee Rose?

To appreciate the beauty of the Cherokee Rose, you can visit gardens and parks where it is cultivated or explore nature trails where it grows wild. Take your time to observe its delicate petals and bristly stem, allowing yourself to be captivated by its allure.

Is the Cherokee Rose easy to grow in home gardens?

Yes, the Cherokee Rose is relatively easy to grow in home gardens. It thrives in well-drained soil and requires moderate sunlight. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy this beautiful flower in your own backyard.

Can I use the Cherokee Rose in floral arrangements?

Absolutely! The Cherokee Rose’s elegant appearance makes it a popular choice for floral arrangements. Its large white blooms add a touch of grace and charm to any bouquet or centerpiece.

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