Georgia is one of the US states located in the southeastern part of the country. The Cherokee rose (rosa laevigata) is the official state flower of the state while the azalea is the state wildflower. The Cherokee rose was selected as the official state floral emblem in 1961, receiving great support from the Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs. The name Cherokee originated from the American Native tribe known as Cherokee; this tribe was responsible for distributing this plant. The plant is native to southern China, Laos, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
Features of the Cherokee Rose
The most striking feature of this plant is its evergreen color despite the seasons. It is also classified as a climbing plant growing mostly over small trees and shrubs. In Chinese, the term Cherokee is used to mean the climbing rose. The leaves of this plant are approximately three to ten centimeters long with either three or five leaflets. The roses of this plant can either be red, yellow, or pink and are characterized by a sweet aroma. The petals and the rose hips of Cherokee are also edible, and they have been mostly used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. When picking the roses of this plant, it is essential to take note of the numerous thorns that cover the plant.
As stated above, the Cherokee rose plant was a native plant in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Laos. It was introduced to the southeastern United States in 1780. To maintain the Cherokee rose plant in the southern US, there was a need to naturalize this plant, and after being acclimated, it gained its English name. The flower is frequently associated with the Trail of Tears. The Trail of Tears is a historical event that took place in the US where that Native Americans were being forced to relocate from their ancestral lands. During that time, the Native Americans were relocated from their original homeland in the southeastern United States to the western side of Mississippi River. The white petals of these petals are, therefore, used to signify the tears that the Cherokee women shed during this time. The golden part at the heart of this flower is used to represent the gold that was taken from the Cherokee tribe.
Georgia State Wildflower: Azalea
The azalea is the officially recognized state wildflower of Georgia. This plant is native to various continents such as Asia, North America, and Europe. The azalea was first introduced in the United States in the 1930s. It was adopted as the official wildflower of this state in 1979. Just like the Cherokee rose flower, the azalea is also an evergreen plant characterized by smooth-margined leaves. The plant blossoms as from March to August. The flowers differ in color, ranging from white, scarlet, crimson, blotches, yellow, and even orange. The azalea plant is known to have various cultural references among different tribes. For instance, in China, it is referred to as the thinking home. Despite its beautiful nature, the plant is highly toxic and has been used multiple times to commit suicide.