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Georgia State Flower: The Cherokee Rose

The official state flower of Georgia
This article was written by EB React on 19/09/2023

A Symbol of Georgia's Rich History

Also learn about the history of the Georgia flag
Discover other symbol, the Georgia state bird

Origin and History

The origin and history of the Georgia state flower, the Cherokee Rose, are steeped in significance. Dating back to the early 1800s, this delicate bloom earned its name from its connection to the Cherokee people, who suffered during the forced relocation known as the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee Rose became a symbol of their resilience and hope. 
Today, it's a proud emblem of Georgia, officially designated as such in 1916. Its white petals and golden center not only represent purity but also the state's historical and cultural roots. This beautiful flower continues to tell a poignant story of Georgia's past and its enduring spirit.

Cultural Significance

The cultural significance of the Cherokee Rose in Georgia cannot be overstated. With a history dating back centuries, this exquisite flower holds a special place in the hearts of Georgians. It symbolizes not only the state's beauty but also its resilience. Its five petals are said to represent the five civilized tribes of the Southeastern United States, including the Cherokee. Moreover, the Cherokee Rose played a role during the tragic Trail of Tears, as mothers planted these roses along the route to mark the paths taken by their children. Today, it continues to be a cherished emblem, reflecting Georgia's deep cultural roots and enduring spirit.

Cherokee Rose Characteristics and Symbolism

Physical Characteristics

The Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata), Georgia's state flower, boasts striking physical features. Its pristine white petals, typically measuring 2-3 inches in diameter, contrast beautifully with its glossy green leaves. This vigorous climbing vine can reach impressive heights of up to 20 feet. What truly sets it apart is the sweet, delicate fragrance that permeates the air, making it a cherished addition to any garden. Its distinctive characteristics have made it an enduring symbol of beauty in the Peach State.


The Cherokee Rose, holds deep symbolism within the state's history and culture. Its five white petals and vibrant yellow center represent the five civilized tribes of Native Americans and the gold rush era, respectively. Beyond its physical attributes, the Cherokee Rose embodies qualities such as purity, beauty, and resilience. It's a symbol of hope and remembrance, as it's said to have grown along the Trail of Tears, marking the tears of Native American mothers. Today, this flower continues to bloom, reminding Georgians of their rich heritage and the enduring spirit of their state.

Cherokee Rose in Georgia Today

Conservation Efforts

Conservation efforts for Georgia's state flower, the Cherokee Rose, have gained momentum in recent years. According to data from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, there has been a 30% increase in Cherokee Rose preservation initiatives since 2018. This surge is driven by a growing awareness of the importance of preserving this iconic flower, which is facing threats from urban development and climate change. 
Key strategies include creating protected habitats in state parks, with over 5,000 acres dedicated to Cherokee Rose conservation. Additionally, educational programs have reached over 10,000 students, fostering a sense of responsibility for this emblematic flower's survival. These numbers underscore the dedication of Georgia's residents to safeguard their state's floral heritage.

Cultivation and Gardening

Cultivating the Cherokee Rose in your garden is a rewarding endeavor. This resilient flower, Georgia's state emblem, thrives in USDA zones 7-9, requiring well-drained soil and full sun. Plant it in the spring, ensuring adequate spacing of about 6 feet apart. Regular watering, especially during the first year, is crucial for establishment. Prune in late winter to maintain its shape and encourage new growth. The Cherokee Rose's stunning white blooms and lush green foliage will not only beautify your garden but also connect you to Georgia's rich heritage. Happy gardening!

Interesting Facts and Trivia

State Emblem Status

The status of the Cherokee Rose as Georgia's state emblem is a point of pride for the state's residents. Enacted in 1916, it holds a significant place in Georgia's identity. This decision was influenced by its historical importance during the Civil War, as it's said to represent the tears shed by Cherokee women during the Trail of Tears. Interestingly, Georgia is one of only a few states to have a state flower that's not a native wildflower. This unique choice showcases the state's rich history and its commitment to preserving and honoring its cultural heritage.

Folklore and Legends

Folklore and Legends are an integral part of Georgia's cultural tapestry. These captivating stories have been passed down through generations, enriching the state's heritage. One particularly intriguing legend involves the Cherokee Rose, the Georgia state flower. According to folklore, these white roses are said to have sprung from the tears shed by Cherokee mothers during the Trail of Tears, a tragic event in American history. This poignant tale highlights the deep connection between nature and human experience. It's just one example of the fascinating folklore and legends that continue to shape Georgia's identity.

EB React / Editor

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