The mesmerizing blue shade present in nature, whether it’s the clear blue sky or deep blue sea, is truly captivating. It’s surprising to know that blue is the rarest naturally found pigment, despite being abundant on our planet. Only a few species from the animal and plant kingdoms possess this cool color in its truest form.
For years, many have sought after the elusive blue rose. It has been a challenging task for plant breeders, scientists, florists, and enthusiasts to create a unique blue rose. However, despite all their efforts, it has been revealed that such a rose does not exist in nature and cannot be produced through breeding. The classic poem “Roses are red, violets are blue” has left many wondering why roses cannot also be blue. This informative article aims to provide insight into the unattainable blue rose and answer the question once and for all. If you’re a fan of blue flowers, you’re sure to find this piece interesting.
The blue rose has a rich history and fascinating lore dating back to the 12th century. Ibn al-Awam, an Arabian agriculturist, mentioned an azure rose in his handbook, but it was never scientifically proven to exist. Some suggest he may have been referring to the blue Hibiscus syriacus ‘Rose of Sharon’ instead. Despite the lack of evidence, the blue rose has become the subject of many folktales.
One such legend is the “Legend of the Blue Rose” from China. The story follows a princess who would only marry the man who could bring her a blue rose. Suitors tried to win her heart by painting a white rose blue, carving a sapphire into the shape of a rose, and even creating a holographic illusion of a blue rose. However, the princess saw through their tricks and knew that a true blue rose did not exist. She was forbidden from marrying the palace gardener, whom she secretly loved.
The following day, the gardener presented the princess with a white rose. She bravely accepted it, and as she touched its petals, it miraculously turned blue. The gardener and princess were able to wed and live happily ever after.
It’s not an easy task to find a real blue rose since most of the blue roses that are available today are either artificially dyed or painted. The reason behind this is that the pigment delphinidin, which gives plants their blue hue, is absent in roses. However, a group of scientists from Japan and Australia made a significant breakthrough in 2004 by applying genetic engineering to create a genuine blue rose. They discovered other key factors such as co-pigments and the vascular pH of the plant that play a crucial role in creating blue petals. By taking the delphinidin-carrying gene from blue viola and iris and implanting it into white roses, a stable and stunning blue-colored blossom was produced. These blue roses, known as ‘Applause,’ were introduced to the market in 2006 and received a warm welcome from the community. Another study in 2018 found a more straightforward method of turning white roses into blue ones by infusing enzymes-containing Agrobacterium tumefaciens into the rose petal. Although the blue hue lasts for a short time, researchers aspire to make the rose plant produce the enzymes itself. While scientists still strive to develop the perfect genetically modified blue rose, rose varieties that feature hues close to blue are equally popular and readily available.
Back in 2006, a group of experts managed to come up with the very first true blue rose through the use of the Suntory-Florigene method. This exceptional flower is not only known for its sweet scent but also for its stunning shade that features a mix of red and mauve hues. The blue rose is popularly sold as a cut flower because of its eye-catching appearance that’s hard to miss.
Back in 1999, Frank Cowlishaw created a new hybrid rose plant that gained widespread popularity for its stunning bluish-mauve petals and striking golden stamens when in full bloom. It is a shrub that flowers repeatedly and grows tall and bushy, making it a great choice for landscape borders. This particular rose stands out for its deep purple hue that almost looks blue and belongs to the gallica rose family. Originally found by Louis-Joseph-Ghislain Parmeniter in 1847, this rose is now often used by florists as cut flowers.
The rose variety commonly known as ‘Pacific Dream’ or ‘Honky Tonk Blues’ boasts stunning purple petals with a blush center. It was created by Peter J. James in 2006 and can grow up to 1.5 meters tall, making it a popular choice for themed gardens. Alternatively, it goes by the names ‘Blue Violet’ or ‘Blue Rosalie’ and was first hybridized by Johann Christoph Schmidt in 1909. The mauve flowers have a delightful scent and gradually fade to a blue hue while the emerald green leaves and minimal thorns make it easy to handle.