Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blue roses are coming - again



A Columbian flower grower Suntory and the Australian company Florigene, are developing a blue rose. I know, we have heard it and seen it before, but supposedly they are on track to creating a real blue.  Part of the problem has been the inability to create a blue pigment. It turns out that the genes in rose petals are not encoded to take the enzyme necessary in the blue pigment “Delphinidin”.  In order to avoid this problem, Suntory has succeeded using the genes found in flowers like petunias and pansies to create the blue pigment and implanting them into roses. They are in fact creating a new rose, one with blue pigments instead of the traditional rose which have only red pigments. These new roses have almost 100% Delphinidin in their petals, which will allow the company to create a larger variety of blues.
Suntory hopes to have their first roses available in three years – but not to you and me. The company plans to market their roses to the Japanese. Apparently blue roses can fetch $500 USD in Japan, and a single blue rose $40-50. Columbia is the world’s second largest exporter of flowers after Holland, with the majority of their products going to the US and Europe.
My first reaction to seeing plants in non-natural colours is one of slight revulsion mixed with apprehension and trepidation, though I  must admit I sometimes fall for their charms (if they have any). I wonder who else feels the way I do. Do you look forward to flowers and plants in all the colours of the rainbow? Please let me know.

13 comments:

  1. I am in your camp, Patty. Lovely flowers should remain in their natural colors. Those who need blue should grow or buy something other than roses.

    Genetic manipulation being possible does not predict desirable results. The price of one genetically altered rose would buy an armload of beautiful natural roses.

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  2. When I worked in a flower shop, customers were always coming in, asking for blue roses. Then there were only the dyed ones, and they are horrible. Roses are already so lovely, why must we manipulate them to get an unnatural colour.

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  3. I do get suck in sometime with this almost hard to get color bloom. But it does not seem to be right. Very abnormal and aren't they mutant?

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  4. There are some true blues out there, I think mostly limited to the gardens of the northern hemisphere. I can understand the desire for blue of your favourite flower, I guess it is the knowing that it is not natural that gets in the way. I have a similar pet peeve about creating plants that flower outside of their normal schedule, like wanting peonies to flower through summer and fall. Why are we not happy with what is already around us?

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  5. I feel the same as you do. And there are many other blue flowers. I do't see why we need blue roses.

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  6. I agree with your statement about not being happy with what's already around us. I don't see the need for an unnatural rose color.

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  7. I am also with you Patty. When I was walking Granville Street in Vancouver one time I saw all sorts of unnatural coloured roses and daisies. It was almost unnerving. And because they are dyed the colour seeps into the water in the vase and it is kind of gross.

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  8. Hi Patty, There seems to be not limits to the twists and turns we impose on flowers. We definitely seem to get carried away with our own abilities to manipulate nature. As with a few of the new varieties of echinacea, I think we have taken things too far in this case. I won't be spending big money to buy blue roses.

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  9. I don't grow many roses, anyway, but I'm not a big fan of manipulating plants like that. I can see doing some hybridizing using good traits that are already there, though.

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  10. I would like to leave it to Mother Nature to reward us the colour of the roses as natural is always better. However, your blue rose looks lovely!

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  11. Zdecydowanie wolę kolory bardziej naturalne dla kwiatów, ale na nowinki mozna popatrzec. Pozdrawiam

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  12. Too strange. I agree with everyone else, leave well enough alone. It's getting far too much like science fiction.

    Enjoying your blog. Experienced a snowy winter vicariously! Many thanks for sharing :-)

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  13. It seems too unnatural to me and I love blue in the garden. But a rose? The name itself hints the colors of warm.

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