Georgia designated the Cherokee rose (Rosa laevigata) as the official state floral emblem in 1916 (with support from the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs). The name "Cherokee Rose" is derived from the Cherokee Indians who widely distributed the plant.
The flower is waxy white with a large golden center surrounded by vivid green leaves. The Cherokee rose is a hardy plant with a profusion of thorns, blooming in early spring (with sometimes a second flowering in the fall under favorable conditions).
Roses have been around for about 35 million years and grow naturally throughout North America. The petals and rose hips are edible and have been used in medicines since ancient times. Rose hips (the fruit of the rose which forms at base of the flower) are a nutritional treasure chest and a special winter treat for birds and wild animals.
The rose is our national flower and the state flower of New York. The Oklahoma rose is a symbol of Oklahoma, and the wild prairie rose is the state flower of Iowa and North Dakota.