Botanical Name

Rosa laevigata

Year Adopted

1916

Peak Bloom

late March to early April

History

The name 'Cherokee Rose' is a local designation derived from the Cherokee Indians who widely distributed the plant.

Fun Fact

The choice of the Cherokee rose as the Georgia state flower came at the urging of women’s clubs.

Georgia state flower - Georgia State Flower: The Cherokee Rose

The Cherokee Rose is an evergreen climbing shrub that grows to heights of up to 20 feet. Its small flowers have white petals and yellow centers. They blossom for only brief periods of time in late March and early April, but occasionally Cherokee Rose plants produce a second round of blossoms. It grows well throughout the state and thrives in many conditions, including in drought. What’s more, the Rose is also linked to Georgia’s past.

A native of China, the Cherokee Rose arrived in the United States sometime in the early to mid 1700s. The plant appeared in gardens across Georgia less than 50 years later and was also planted by the Native American Cherokee in northern Georgia.

The state flower is forever linked to U.S. history through a tragic event in 1838 in which thousands of Cherokee were forced out of Georgia and other lands east of the Mississippi River. The path taken by Native Americans was dubbed the “Trail of Tears” because of the tears shed by Cherokee women on the journey. Cherokee chiefs prayed for a sign to give their women hope and the strength to care for their children. It is said that wherever a tear dropped, a Cherokee Rose bloomed. The flowers continue to bloom along the path today.

The Cherokee Rose has a more joyful connotation in present-day Georgia and is honored through numerous events each year. The “Miss Georgia Rose Scholarship Pageant” is organized in Columbus, the “Cherokee Rose Storyteller Festival” takes place in a small town east of Atlanta, and a Cherokee Rose scholarship is handed out by the state’s garden association in Athens.

Growing Information

Soil

Well-drained

Sun

Full Sun/Partial Shade

Zones

4 - 10