Rosa laevigata

The fruits, or hips, of the Cherokee rose are huge!—an inch or so long! I found this one on the bower in the rose garden at the State Botanical Garden in Athens. (Thanks, Bill!) The rose garden is surrounded by a big fence, detracting somewhat from its beauty….

Sources on the web indicate that this rose is really native to China and southeastern Asia, and now is naturalized in southeastern North America. Unlike most roses, it’s fairly easy to grow.

Georgia’s state flower is the Cherokee rose, and the plant is linked to the Cherokee Trail of Tears, when Euroamericans drove the Cherokee west to resettle those who survived in Oklahoma. The petals symbolize tears of grief for the four to five thousand Cherokees who died en route.

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