South Dakota History & Culture Of The Rose

state shape flag for history & culture of the rose in South Dakota

Roses are one of the most popular flowers in the world, known for their beauty, fragrance, and versatility. In South Dakota, rose flowers have a rich history and profound importance to the state’s culture. The state has eventually become a hub for rose enthusiasts.

One of the most notable figures in the history of roses in South Dakota is Niels Ebbesen Hansen. He is a Danish-American horticulturist who worked at the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station in Brookings. Hansen is credited with developing several hardy rose varieties that could withstand the harsh winters of the northern United States, including the famous “Explorer” series. Today, his legacy lives on through the Hardy Rosarians of South Dakota. It is an affiliate of the American Rose Society that promotes the appreciation and enjoyment of roses in South Dakota.

In addition to its historical significance, roses also play an important role in South Dakota’s culture. Roses are often used on special occasions such as weddings, funerals, and Valentine’s Day. South Dakota also joins the annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses where they showcase parade floats filled with roses.

Historical Roots

Roses have been an important part of South Dakota’s history and culture for over a century. One of the state’s rose gardens is Kuhnert Arboretum Rose Garden which is cared for by South Dakota’s local rose society.

In the early days, roses were primarily grown for their beauty and fragrance. However, as the state’s agricultural industry began to grow, roses were also cultivated for their medicinal properties. Rose hips were used to make tea and other remedies to help with colds and other ailments.

Today, roses continue to be an important part of South Dakota’s culture. Many cities and towns throughout the state have their own rose gardens, which are popular tourist attractions. In addition, there are several organizations dedicated to the cultivation and preservation of roses in South Dakota.

Cultural Significance

Roses have been an important part of human culture for over 5000 years. In South Dakota, roses have a special significance as they are grown in gardens and parks, and are used in various events and celebrations.

One of the cultural significances of roses in South Dakota is their use in weddings. Roses are a popular choice for wedding bouquets and decorations due to their beauty and symbolism. The different colors of roses also have different meanings. For example, red roses symbolize love and passion, while white roses symbolize purity and innocence.

Roses are also used in funerals and memorials in South Dakota. They are often placed on graves as a symbol of love and remembrance. The rose collection in McCrory Gardens is another cultural landmark in the state. The garden is located in Brookings is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

Overall, roses hold a special place in the culture and traditions of South Dakota. Their beauty and symbolism make them a beloved flower in the state, and their presence in gardens and events is a testament to their cultural significance.

Economic Impact

South Dakota’s climate is characterized by cold winters and hot summers, which makes it challenging to grow crops. However, the state is known for its hardy roses, which can withstand the harsh climate. The rose is the favorite flower of the entire civilized world and is a popular choice for gardens and floral arrangements.

The rose industry in South Dakota is an important contributor to the state’s economy. According to a 2019 study, agriculture and related industries in South Dakota are estimated to contribute $11.2 billion in total value-added and 132,105 jobs, which represents 22% of total South Dakota jobs and increased from 115,651 in 2014. The rose industry is a significant part of the agriculture industry in South Dakota.

The Hardy Rosarians of South Dakota, an affiliate of the American Rose Society, promotes the appreciation and enjoyment of roses grown in South Dakota’s challenging climate. They have planted and tend dozens of rose varieties in their beautiful Rose Garden at Kuhnert Arboretum in Aberdeen.

South Dakota State University has also researched hardy roses for South Dakota. N. E. Hansen, a plant explorer, and horticulturist, wrote a bulletin on “Hardy Roses for South Dakota” in 1929. The bulletin highlighted the importance of the rose as a gift of nature and discussed the hardy rose varieties that can thrive in South Dakota’s climate.

Overall, the rose industry in South Dakota is a significant contributor to the state’s economy and a source of pride for its residents.

Artistic & Literary Influence

Roses have played a significant role in the art and literature of South Dakota. Many South Dakota artists and writers have featured roses in their works.

In literature, roses have been used as a symbol of love, beauty, and passion. The poem “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns tells about the speaker declaring his deep love that will endure and stand the test of time.

In art, roses have been depicted in a variety of styles and mediums. South Dakota artist Kristine Reiner has prominently used roses as inspiration as well as incorporated actual roses in her works. Reiner has always loved roses and began featuring them in her paintings when she unexpectedly received 400 roses.

Overall, the historical significance of roses in South Dakota art and literature showcases the enduring beauty and symbolism of this beloved flower.


Overall, the history of roses in South Dakota is a rich and varied one, and it is apparent in the culture of the state and its people. It reflects the state’s unique blend of natural beauty and agricultural heritage. Whether grown for their beauty, fragrance, or medicinal properties, roses have played an important role in the state’s history and culture for generations.

state shape flag for history & culture of the rose in South Dakota


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