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The Rose - United States National Flower

The term rose is applied to numerous shrubs and vines in the genus Rosa. They come in a variety of colors, have a fragrant scent and thorns on their stems. The rose has been favored by many everywhere. The edible petals have been added to salads and used in medicines since the times of antiquity. It was sacred to Aphrodite. It is the national flower of the United States. It is the official flower of New York State. The wild rose is the Iowa State flower and the prairie rose the state flower of North Dakota. The American Beauty is the flower of the District of Columbia. The rose is also the emblem of England. Two of the most famous roses are the white rose that served as the emblem for the house of York and the red rose for the house of Lancaster in the Wars of the Roses. For a brief sojourn of the official flowers of the various states click here.

The Making of the National Floral Emblem

September 23, 1986, the House of Representatives passed a joint resolution naming the rose as the "national floral emblem" of the United States. The Senate had passed the resolution in 1985.

The measure then went to President Ronald Reagan. He signed the resolution into law on October 7, 1986 in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.

On November 20, 1986, President Reagan signed Proclamation 5574: The National Floral Emblem of the United States of America: The Rose. (Note: a proclamation announces an act by the government; it does not have the effect of law.)

"President Rose To The Occasion", San Jose Mercury News, October 8, 1986, p. 6A
Facts on File, 1986 p. 774
Chase's Annual Events, 1988 p. 284
Vanderbilt University. Television News Archive.

Below is listed a copy of both the U.S. law that proclaims the rose as the National Flower, and the Proclamation made by the President of the United Sates of America, that the law requested be written. 





s 187. National floral emblem

The flower commonly known as the rose is designated and adopted as the national floral emblem of the United States of America, and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to declare such fact by proclamation.

(Pub.L. 99-449, Oct. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 1128.)


Proclamation No. 5574. The Rose Proclaimed the National
Floral Emblem of the United States of America

Proc. No. 5574. Nov. 20, 1986, 51 F.R. 42197, provided:

Americans have always loved the flowers with which God decorates our land. More often than any other flower, we hold the rose dear as the symbol of life and love and devotion, of beauty and eternity. For the love of man and woman, for the love of mankind and God, for the love of country, Americans who would speak the language of the heart do so with a rose.

We see proofs of this everywhere. The study of fossils reveals that the rose has existed in America for age upon age. We have always cultivated roses in our gardens. Our first President, George Washington, bred roses, and a variety he named after his mother is still grown today. The White House itself boasts a beautiful Rose Garden. We grow roses in all our fifty States. We find roses throughout our art, music, and literature. We decorate our celebrations and parades with roses. Most of all, we present roses to those we love, and we lavish them on our altars, our civil shrines, and the final resting places of our honored dead.

The American people have long held a special place in their hearts for roses. Let us continue to cherish them, to honor the love and devotion they represent, and to bestow them on all we love just as God has bestowed them on us.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 159 [Pub.L. 99.449, Oct. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 1128, which enacted this section], has designated the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation declaring this fact.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States of America.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.



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