Rosa laevigata

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Rosa laevigata
Cherokee rose.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rosa
R. laevigata
Binomial name
Rosa laevigata

Rosa laevigata, the Cherokee rose,[1] is a white, fragrant rose native to southern China and Taiwan south to Laos and Vietnam, and invasive in the United States.


It is an evergreen climbing shrub, scrambling over other shrubs and small trees to heights of up to 5–10 metres (16–33 ft). The leaves are 3–10 centimetres (1.2–3.9 in) long, with usually three leaflets, sometimes five leaflets, bright glossy green and glabrous. The flowers are 6–10 centimetres (2.4–3.9 in) diameter, fragrant, with pure white petals and yellow stamens, and are followed by bright red and bristly hips 2–4 centimetres (0.79–1.57 in) diameter. The flower stem is also very bristly.


The species was introduced to the southeastern United States in about 1780, where it soon became naturalized, and where it gained its English name.

Cultural references[edit]

The flower is commonly associated with the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation of Native Americans in the southeastern United States. Its white petals are said to represent the tears the Cherokee women shed[2] during the period of great hardship and grief throughout US government-forced march from the Cherokees' home to U.S. forts, such as Gilmer. The flower's gold center is said to symbolize the gold taken from the Cherokee tribe.[3]

It is the state flower of Georgia.

In popular culture[edit]

The flower is referenced in The Walking Dead episode of the same name by Daryl Dixon in an attempt to comfort Carol Peletier, who at this time had lost her daughter.


  1. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Rosa laevigata". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Legend of the Cherokee Rose". Retrieved 2011-12-05.
  3. ^ "The Trail of Tears - Cherokee Indians forcibly removed from North Georgia it is also mentioned in the season 2 episode of the walking dead Cherokee rose". 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2011-12-05.