The Cherokee Rose--A Sweet Flower with a Bittersweet Legend

By
Real Estate Agent with Century 21 In the Mountains

RoseThe lovely Cherokee Rose has begun blooming throughout the North Georgia mountains.  Native to China, the Cherokee Rose was introduced in America in the mid-1700's, probably by an English grower. Settlers began planting the rose bushes around their homes, as did the Cherokee Indians who, lest we forget, were gardeners and farmers, too. 

Adopted as the Georgia state flower in 1916, the Cherokee Rose has waxy apple-green leaves and fragrant white or light pink blooms. The fast-growing shrub can obtain heights of up to 15 feet when given the opportunity to grow vertically.  Unlike its more fussy rose cousins, the Cherokee Rose thrives in the sunny, humid climes of the South and requires very little care in exchange for its lovely flowers, making it the perfect specimen for even the most careless gardener.  In fact, you may want to plant the Cherokee Rose in a place where it has lots of room to grow, as it will quickly take over any place it is planted.  Many an old homesite, the old house long since gone, will have Cherokee Roses growing up the still standing chimney.   

The Cherokee Rose bears tribute to the unspeakably sad "Trail of Tears"-the forceable removal of the Cherokee people from their ancestral homes throughout Western North Carolina and North Georgia.  According to the legend of the Cherokee Rose, the mothers of the Cherokee were so consumed with grief that they were in danger of being unable to make the journey, thus leaving their children far more vulnerable. The Cherokee chiefs prayed for a sign to lift the mother's spirits. From then on, a Cherokee Rose sprang up wherever a mother's tear hit the ground. Each part of the plant has a particular significance: The white flower  stands for the mother's tears; the gold center-the gold taken from the Cherokee lands; and the seven leaves on the stems, the seven Cherokee clans that were in the march.  The mothers were so uplifted by the beauty of the Cherokee Rose, that they were strengthened to complete the journey.

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Rainer
130,186
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN
This is a very beautiful and easy to care for rose. I have them growing as semi-manicured bushes in two places around my home. The flowers of mine a light pink. I have found it to be invasive, so if you choose to plant it, keep an eye on it. The legend of this flower is very sad and makes me think with shame what was done to the Native American people.
Apr 20, 2008 10:25 AM #1
Rainmaker
116,746
Kim Southern- "Sold" with Southern Hospitality
Century 21 In the Mountains - Ellijay, GA
Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains!

The Cherokee Rose is the perfect plant for me...it thrives in conditions of benign neglect.  Yes, our treatment of all Native Anericans was a black mark on our nation's history.

Thanks for stopping by.

Apr 20, 2008 10:44 AM #2
Rainmaker
102,691
Neal Barnes
Starstate Realty - Killeen, TX
Broker, REALTOR, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, SRS.
Kim -- Nice Post.  I like plants and I am part Cherokee too.  I enjoyed reading the post. Thanks.
Apr 20, 2008 02:34 PM #3
Rainmaker
116,746
Kim Southern- "Sold" with Southern Hospitality
Century 21 In the Mountains - Ellijay, GA
Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains!

Neal: I know quite a few people up here who are part-Cherokee...which is really no surprise given the fact that much of the Cherokee nation was centered in this region.  You should be very proud of your heritage, the Cherokees were--and are--incredible people.

Thanks for stopping by!

Apr 20, 2008 02:57 PM #4
Anonymous
Cherokee Rose and modern trail of tears

Albeit our State Flower, the Cherokee Rose is destroying natural areas throughout the state.  This non-native invasive plant should not be grown.  It makes me cry when I see areas home to our rare native flora being overrun by this thug. 

May 14, 2008 04:21 AM #5
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Rainmaker
116,746

Kim Southern- "Sold" with Southern Hospitality

Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains!
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