Cherokee rose, a beautiful vinelike plant with thorns and white flowers that thrives in the woods around here and is easily transplanted into local gardens.
The Cherokee rose in all actuality are not native to North America but instead to China. In the mid-1700s, European plant hunters brought this Chinese rose back to Europe, and from there, it traveled, via European settlers, to America.
By the way, our third president, Thomas Jefferson, loved and valued this Chinese rose. But it wasn’t Europeans who were genuinely responsible for spreading this rose; instead, it was Cherokee Indians.
They marked paths with it and, as Marquis says, they planted them in essential places — graves, roadsides, etc.
Native Americans later took this beautiful, fragrant plant for their gardens because of its disease-preventing properties and attractive flowers.
The name Cherokee rose is Spanish for “mountain clover” because the flower grows tall, and the leaves are luscious and dark green.
Cherokee can be found in many gardens and the southern part of most states in the U.S., including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and California.
Some varieties can be found in Canada. A prevalent variety is the Laevigata Cherokee rose, although other named varieties include the blue-flowered sagebrush, Mexican bloodroot, and the black-eyed Susan.
While most varieties of the Cherokee rose are ornamental, some are used for disease prevention and medicinal purposes.
Being a true plant species, this rose also propagated itself via seedlings. In a few short years, the Cherokee rose was a native to America in every sense of the word.
The Cherokee rose produces single, clear white blooms with yellow centers and dark green, attractive foliage. Each spring, it blooms profusely.
Getting up to 15 feet across, it makes a perfect hedge or wall rose. It is disease-resistant but a bit thorny. Still, it’s a true beauty.
Cherokee Rose Care
Cherokee rose plants are hardy in zones 7-9, where they can be semi-evergreen to evergreen. They are deer resistant, drought tolerant when established, and tolerate poor soil.
They are also excessively thorny, so they are considered problematic when they naturalize in the wild.
Cherokee rose tolerates part shade, but it performs best in full sun. Prune annually to maintain a bushy shape.