Fossils reveal that they’ve grown as a wildflower in America for more than 35 million years. George Washington bred them and named a variety after his mother. The White House has a famous garden full of them, where presidents often welcome distinguished guests and heads of state.
As Ronald Reagan once noted, “We lavish them on our altars, our civil shrines, and the final resting places of our honored dead.” And, of course, millions of people give them today, Valentine’s Day. They are Americans’ favorite flower and loved the world over.
For all these reasons, in 1986 Congress and President Reagan proclaimed the rose the national flower of the United States.
“Americans have always loved the flowers with which God decorates our land,” Reagan said in his proclamation. “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.”