Georgia State Floral Emblem (Flower)

Cherokee Rose

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 Georgia state floral emblem  by virtue of a joint resolution of the General Assembly approved by Gov. Nathaniel Harris. The name "Cherokee Rose" is a local designation derived from the Cherokee Indians who widely distributed the plant.

Georgia State Floral Emblem (Flower):
Cherokee Rose

Legend of the Cherokee Rose

Georgia State Flower - 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.

Cherokee Rose

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 Resolution 42

The Cherokee rose was adopted by Joint Resolution No. 42 approved on August 18, 1916.


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.

Georgia Code

The law designating the Cherokee rose as the official Georgia state floral emblem is found in the Georgia Code, Title 50, Chapter 3, Section 50-3-53.

TITLE 50. State Government.
SECTION 50-3-53.

The Cherokee rose is adopted as the floral emblem of the State of Georgia.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Cherokee Rose

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

State Flowers
State Floral Emblems
Flowers & Floral Emblems