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.