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Trail of Tears lined with state flower
Liberty lore
Cherokee rose
It is early spring and many Cherokee roses are in bloom.  Sometimes they may be mistaken for dogwoods as they bloom at the same time and both are white.
The Cherokee rose, commonly known as the camellia rose, was officially adopted as the state floral emblem by the Georgia General Assembly on Aug. 18, 1916, at the request of the Federation of Women's Clubs.
The Georgia flower is a native of Southeast Asia and came to this country by way of England about 1757. Its botanical name is rosa laevigata Michaux. Andre Michaux, a Charleston botanist born in France, first described it.
Actually, the Cherokee rose is an evergreen vine with a grand floral display of waxy white flowers with golden centers.  The three-four inch blooms have a clove-like fragrance. With good weather conditions it will bloom again in the fall.  
The Cherokee rose flowers are densely arranged along the length of the canes that form garlands of blossoms on the plant.  It is a climbing shrub that will scramble over other shrubs and small trees to heights of 15 feet or higher. It produces long, thorny, vine like canes that form a mound 10-12 feet in height and about 15 feet wide.
We have several planted on our farm and in just a few years they have grown to form huge mounds that have to be constantly pruned back.  The birds, especially cardinals, love to build nests in the thick thorny vines and to hide from predators.
The Cherokee rose flower has antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, astringent, carminative, depurative and diuretic properties.  The flowers are also used in the treatment of dysentery and to restore hair cover.  There is a layer of hairs around the Cherokee rose seeds just beneath the flesh of the fruit.  These hairs can cause irritation to the mouth and digestive tract if swallowed.  The fruit of this rose is called a rosehip.  Birds flock to the Cherokee rose to feast on the rosehips, the fruit being a very tasty source of vitamin C.
The Cherokee rose has great pest resistance.  It is easily propagated from cuttings or from dividing the root ball.  Gene takes some of the prunings and sticks them in the wet area of the branch and leaves them there.  Ninety-nine per cent of them root and begin growing and he transplants them to other areas.  These roses can easily be used to create a screen while covering a fencerow or trellis.  They can also be used as specimen plants where they will form a mound the size of a full size pickup truck.  Pick a spot that is not near any other plants or the rose will consume them.  
Across the highway from Chili's restaurant in Hinesville is a mound of Cherokee rose that has been there as long as I have been driving this road.  Another place where there are two, one on each side of the entrance gate to Earl Phillips' home, is on Highway 196 going toward Gum Branch.
The name "Cherokee Rose" is a local designation derived from the Cherokee Indians who widely distributed the plant.  In 1828, there were 17,000 Cherokee Indians living in North Georgia.  They were not nomadic savages but had adopted many European-style customs. They were farmers and ranchers and had a representational government.  A Cherokee alphabet, the "Talking Leaves" was perfected by Sequoyah.  But, in 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act and in 1838 the Cherokees were forced from Georgia.  The route they traveled and the journey itself became known as the "Trail of Tears."
This is one of the legends of the Cherokee Rose.  "When the trail started, the mothers of the Cherokee were grieving and crying so much, they were unable to help their children survive the journey.  The elders prayed for a sign that would lift the mothers' spirits to give them strength.  The next day a beautiful rose began to grow where each of the mother's tears fell.  The rose is white for their tears, a gold center represents the gold taken from Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem for the seven clans.  The wild Cherokee Rose grows along the route of the Trail of Tears into eastern Oklahoma today."
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