Roses: Messengers of Cultural Exchange Between China and the United States

The United States, a nation renowned for its diverse culture and unique history, has chosen a flower admired worldwide—the rose—as its national emblem.

But did you know that this rose originates from China?

Among countless blossoms, why did Americans particularly select the rose, a plant native to China, to represent their country?

This post delves into the historical journey of how the rose made its way from China to the United States, ultimately becoming America’s national flower, and uncovers the reasons behind this choice.

The Global Journey of the Chinese Rose

The rose, scientifically known as Rosa Chinensis, has its roots in China, with historical records tracing its presence back to the Tang Dynasty.

In China, where it bloomed gloriously, this flower was first introduced to Europe by Italian missionaries, marking the beginning of its worldwide dissemination. By the end of the 17th century, the Chinese rose had captivated significant attention in France and England, gradually spreading across the continent.

Under Europe’s meticulous cultivation, the rose diversified into numerous varieties and its cultivation expanded to the American continent.

Over time, these improved roses were reintroduced to China, but now bearing a novel, exotic appearance. To distinguish them from the indigenous varieties, these horticultural cultivars came to be known as roses. (Hereafter in the text, they will uniformly be referred to as roses.)

The Reasons Behind the Rose as America's National Flower

The rose stands out among many American flowers to become the national flower for a multitude of reasons.

Its history in the United States dates back to the era of early settlers, and especially during the 19th century, with advancements in horticulture, the rose flourished in American gardens, earning the affection of the populace.

It is not merely the flower’s aesthetic appeal but also the sentiments it embodies—love, friendship, and resilience—that resonate deeply with American core values and the spirit of the society.

Furthermore, the rose is intricately woven into the fabric of American culture, featuring prominently in literature, art, and musical compositions, serving as a wellspring of creativity and inspiration.

Countless artists have taken the rose as their subject, producing myriad touching works that further solidify the flower’s unique position within American culture.

The Path to Becoming the National Flower: The Story of the Rose

Despite its widespread adoration, the rose’s journey to becoming the national flower of the United States was not without obstacles. It was not until 1986 that the U.S. Congress officially designated the rose as the national flower.

As early as 1965, a proposal to establish the rose as the national flower was initiated by women’s organizations in the United States, accompanied by publicity campaigns and lobbying efforts.

However, this proposition encountered opposition from some who argued that the rose, not being native to the United States, could not adequately symbolize American culture and traditions.

Following two decades of debate and endeavors, Congress eventually passed a resolution in 1986, cementing the rose’s status as the national flower of the United States.

Conception and Reflection

Had it not been for the rose, the honor of being America’s national flower might have rested upon native blossoms such as the sunflower or the lily, each choice imbued with its cultural symbolism.

Yet, the rose’s ascension to this position illustrates how the power of beauty transcends borders, uniting diverse cultures and histories in a shared expression of a nation’s character and value aspirations.

In summary, the journey of the rose from its Eastern origins to becoming the United States national flower is a tale of cultural fusion that surpasses geographical boundaries.

It not only witnesses the global dissemination of natural beauty but also reflects humanity’s universal pursuit of beautiful emotion and noble values.

Get in touch with us!

From custom light planning, to tailored quotes, and everything in between, our team of horticulture experts are always ready to assist.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
** Your privacy will be protected

Get Catalogue & Price List​

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
** Your privacy will be protected
Open chat
Inquiry Us
Hello 👋
Are you looking for LED Grow Lights?