Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Cherokee Rose from the Trail of Tears

The Legend of the
Cherokee Rose

No better symbol exists of the pain and suffering of the "Trail Where They Cried" than the Cherokee Rose. The mothers of the Cherokee grieved so much that the chiefs prayed for a sign to lift the mother's spirits and give them strength to care for their children.

From that day forward, a beautiful new flower, a rose, grew wherever a mother's tear fell to the ground. The rose is white, for the mother's tears. It has a gold center, for the gold taken from the Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem that represent the seven Cherokee clans that made the journey.

To this day, the Cherokee Rose prospers along the route of the "Trail of Tears". The Cherokee Rose is now the official flower of the State of Georgia.

It is believed that the rose was introduced into the State, perhaps directly from China or from China by way of England. One well-known horticulturist agreeing with this view gives the year 1757 as the date of its introduction into England and advances the belief that it reached the United States shortly afterwards.

The name, Cherokee Rose, is a local appellation derived from the Cherokee Indians who widely distributed the plant, which elsewhere is known by the botanical name of rosa sinica.

Growing wild the rose is a high climbing shrub, frequently attaining the proportions of a vine, is excessively thorny and generously supplied with leaves of a vivid green. Its blooming time is in the early spring but favorable conditions will produce a second flowering in the fall of the year.

In color, the rose is a waxy white and large golden center and the petals are of an exquisite velvety texture. Because of its hardy nature the plant is well adapted to hedge purposes and has been used extensively in this fashion throughout the South.