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What Is the State Flower of Georgia? History, Medicinal, & FAQ

Cherokee Rose

The state of Georgia is known for its peaches, southern food, and friendly southern hospitality, but have you ever wondered what the state flower of Georgia is or how it was decided?

The state flower of Georgia is the Cherokee Rose or the Rose laevigata. Interestingly, the Cherokee Rose is not native to Georgia but comes from Vietnam, China, Taiwan, and Laos.

This article will examine the state flower, how it was decided, and a few facts you might not already know about the Cherokee Rose: the official flower of the peach state.

garden flower divider

The History of the Cherokee Rose

The Cherokee Rose became Georgia’s official state floral emblem on August 28th, 1916. The choice had the support of the Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Since the flower is not native to Georgia, it’s thought to have come to the United States sometime in the 1700s. However, after coming to Georgia in the 1700s, around 50 years later, it made its way to Northern Georgia and was planted in gardens by the Cherokee.

Today, you can find the Cherokee Rose on emblems, business slogans, and gardens all over the beautiful state of Georgia.

Cherokee Rose
Image Credit: Pixabay

How the Cherokee Rose Got Its Name

Although the first Cherokee Rose was planted by one of the Cherokee tribes in Northern Georgia, the group suffered a tragic and horrible loss when the Cherokee nation was forced off their land and required to walk thousands of miles to the state of Oklahoma. This event went down in history as The Trail of Tears. Legend says that wherever a Cherokee woman shed a tear along that trail, a Cherokee Rose grew in that spot.

The Cherokee saw the flowers as a gift and a sign of the hope that they steadily prayed for. It is said that the shrubs’ leaves represent the gold stolen from the Cherokee tribe, the white petals of the flower are the tears that fell along the trail, and the three leaves and seven petals of the flower represent the seven clans that were forced from their homes to a state they knew nothing about.

This tragic story is how Georgia’s state flower, the Cherokee Rose got its name. The state is proud of their flower, and you can see them in gardens and yards throughout the region.

What Does the Cherokee Rose Look Like?

You can identify the Cherokee Rose by its yellow center surrounded by thorns and thick leaves. It’s a small white flower that can be a mounded shrub or a climbing plant that can cover fences and trellises.

This flower has been known to survive droughts and, once planted, will grow for a very long time. In most cases, the shrub blooms in the spring but can also bloom close to fall, depending on the conditions.

Cherokee Rose
Image Credit: Pixabay

Cherokee Rose for Medicinal Purposes

The Cherokee Rose has edible parts, including the flower, leaf, and root. However, you need to avoid the hairs around the seed and under the fruit’s flesh since they can cause irritation in the mouth and digestive tract.

The rest of the flower is a good source of vitamin E and can be used to ferment wine. Also, the leaves have been used to heal wounds, and the hips, whether they are eaten raw or cooked, are good sources of vitamins A, C, and E.

The plant is also being looked at as a possible way to reverse or stop cancer growth. Though this hasn’t been proven yet, it certainly makes the Cherokee Rose worth studying.

garden flower divider

Final Thoughts

The state flower of Georgia is the Cherokee Rose, and it was named after the Cherokee tribe who were forced to walk the Trail of Tears many centuries ago. You can find the Cherokee Rose all over the United States and certainly in the Peach state as well.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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