Rosa Laevigata

The name Cherokee Rose is most often used to call this hardy, climbing shrub native to southern China, Laos and Vietnam.  It was introduced into North America in the 1780’s as an ornamental plant and is now considered invasive.  The flowers are small and very fragrant featuring 5 bright white petals.  This plant has been associated with the Trail of Tears where the petal symbolized the tears of the Cherokee women and the yellow center symbolizing the gold (riches) taken from the Cherokee tribe.  For those fans of The Walking Dead, an episode in the second season was named Cherokee Rose which mentioned the myth about this flower.  Speaking of myths, similar shrubs are often called wild roses.  This is not the case.  Roses have been cultivated for over 2 millennia and thousands of hybrids exist.  True wild roses are species that occur naturally featuring single flowers with exactly 5 petals mostly pink, with a few varieties colored red or white.

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