Help Us Move Legislation Forward 

Georgia has one of the richest landscapes in the nation. Its vast plant diversity should be represented by a native flower important to both our ecosystems and our heritage. That’s why the GNPS Advocacy Committee is pushing for change. We need your help getting this legislation on the 2024 legislative calendar by contacting your State Senator and letting them know that people in their district support this change. Senator Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) is sponsoring the legislation but he needs support from other districts to move it forward.


Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata) was designated as the state flower of Georgia in 1916 under the mistaken belief that it was indigenous to Georgia; however, it is indigenous to South China, and its introduction to Georgia was the result of deliberate cultivation. In fact, Cherokee Rose is a Category 4 Invasive plant. It is important for Georgia to promote native plant species in its identity to align with the state’s priorities to protect and preserve ecosystems. The non-native, invasive Cherokee Rose should be replaced with a native plant that represents Georgia’s natural heritage.

Georgia Native Plant Society suggests that Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), a native plant found across Georgia, would better represent Georgia as its state flower. Sweetbay Magnolia supports the lifecycle of Georgia’s state butterfly, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, contributing to vital pollinator habitat. It has a rich history in Georgia’s botanical heritage and was used by indigenous communities. 

You can read more on our campaign info sheet, A Proposal to Change Georgia’s State Flower.


Call to Action

In order to move this legislation forward before crossover day, we are asking you to contact your state senator by email or by phone as soon as possible. Follow these simple steps to take action now:

  1. If you don’t know who your state senator is, click here to find your legislator.
  2. Find your senator on the Georgia General Assembly webpage and navigate to their webpage. Click the Contact button on the top right. 
  3. Complete the contact form to email your senator. When asked what the issue your message relates to, select Legislative Advocacy. Here is some suggested text for you to copy into your message:

“As a supporter of Georgia’s natural heritage, I am asking you to support Senator Rick Williams’s effort to change the state flower from an exotic plant to a native plant, Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana). This plant contributes to the state’s rich biodiversity, providing habitats and food sources for various wildlife. It is also a host plant for our state butterfly, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Georgia should promote a native plant species in its identity to align with the state’s priorities to protect and preserve ecosystems. Georgians can feel good about planting Sweetbay Magnolia in their yards.”

We encourage you to forward this email to any family or friends in Georgia who may also feel compelled to help change the state flower. If you have any questions, you may reply to this email. Thank you for taking the time to help us move this important legislation forward.


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