blue rose info

K. R. Robertson krrobert at
Fri Aug 4 19:11:22 EST 1995

As noted in a previous response, there is no such thing as a blue rose. 
The reason is quite simple--the whole rose plant family (Rosaceae) lacks
the genetic ability to produce true blue flowers.  

The same applies to red (Ferrari-red) flowers as well.  However, natural
genetic mutations evidently occurred in some European cultivated roses in
the 1920s that allowed for the production of pure red pigments, and these
genes have subsequently been bred into many of todayÕs hybrid roses.

To date, no natural mutation has occurred for blue roses.  Do you want to
see what a blue rose WOULD look like?  I took a slide that I have of
ÔPeaceÕ and used Adobe Photoshop to convert it to blue.  It looks quite
strange.  A similar photo was published recently in The Garden. Journal of
the Royal Horticultural Society, May 1995, page 287.  

There are ongoing attempts to try and use genetic engineering techniques to
transfer the gene for blue flowers from some unrelated plant, like a
delphenium, into the cultivated rose.  I had a student who wrote a
wonderful term paper on this, but I canÕt find my copy at the moment. 
There is an article in Discover magazine about this as well: Yvonne Baskin,
A blue, blue rose, Discover. v. 11, Nov. '90, p. 28.  There is a technical
article on this topic as well: Timothy A. Holton and Yoshikazu Tanaka, Blue
roses--a pigment of our imagination? Tibtech volume 12, pages 40-42, 1994. 
The first author is from Australia, with a company called Calgene Pacific
in Collingwood, Victoria.

Does this help or does it add to confusion?

Ken Robertson
Illinois Natural History Survey, USA
krrobert at

In article <3vs87m$2cs at>,
s9406132 at (The Dark One) wrote:

> I'm after some information on a _blue rose_ for a friend of mine doing a
> biology project.  I myself don't know anything about this blue rose so 
> any information or even web sites will be greatly appreciated and can be
> mailed to: 
> s9406132 at
> Thanks
> --
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