In a 2006 paper published in the journal Tetrahedron, a group of Japanese researchers identified, for the first time, a blue pigment (actually, two blue pigments) present in a hybrid tea rose. The pigment is named rosacyanin, and it is formed by the compound cyanidin, one of the typical red pigments found in roses, complexing with an egallitannin, the only kind of tannin acid that is found in roses.

The cultivar in question is Madame Violet, a Paradise look-alike the parents of which are Lady X and Sterling Silver.

Sterling Silver was the first lavendar rose, and remains the most close to blue of any of its successors. The parentage of Lady X is sketchy but one look says Sterling Silver figures into it.

Until now I had accepted the rubric that pH was the deciding factor in Sterling Silver’s hue. This ‘new’ development begs the question of whether we might actually expect to breed a true blue rose from mauves, despite the absence of delphinidin.

"Two novel blue pigments, rosacyanins A1 and A2, were isolated from the petals of Rosa hybrida cv.

More, from the full paper:

"During our research for blue pigments from a large variety of roses, we found a small number of blue pigments (rosacyanin As) that mauve-type roses, such as

Very interesting and encouraging!

Thanks for sharing.


That is neat to think that the potential for blue is already there without the requirement of genetic engineering. A few years ago, I had a seedling that in the greenhouse had a faint true blue cast on a white background. It looked something like a blue sky with overcast. Outside it washed out almost completely and since the plant habit and bloom shape were not that exciting, I discarded it. My kids still tell me that I killed the first blue rose. Kind of like the story of the big fish that got away!

Jim Sproul

No kidding! Very fascinating story! Makes me wonder…

There is a rose that grows wild in Beautiful Downtown Hygiene, Colorado, where the population doubles every time a litter of kittens is born, that has a definite blue “glow” about it. I can’t say the flower is blue. It’s a 20 petalled, once blooming small climber or large bush (completely surrounds a huge, ancient cottonwood at whose base it grows). The color is a dark magenta. But there is, in the newly opened flowers, (to my eyes anyway) a definite, strong blue glow. I’ve never used this rose for breeding. Maybe I should! No idea what the rose is, but it roots if you wave water at it.

Fara, your mystery rose could be ‘Veilchenblau’. It’s been used as rootstock as have some of it’s offspring. It’s been used in hybridizing and many of it’s descendants also share it’s blue-ish coloration, including most recently, ‘Midnight Blue’ and it’s brethren.


Nope, it’s not Veilchenblau. It’s somewhat different in style and there is no sign of R. multiflora in it.

‘Midnight Blue’ is a wonder! It bloomed well into October this year and hopefully I’ll get a lot of crosses from it.

here’s a link to the rose I found. It’s listed as “belle of Hygiene” but I now call it the “Fort Pella Magenta.” Hygiene was originally Fort Pella, and nobody believes Hygiene is really the name of a town.



Wow, that is beautiful. Makes me want to get in my car right now and go get some cuttings.


I’ve never grown any of them, but “Belle of Hygiene” it looks like it could be one of the boursaults, perhaps Amadis?



Mark, Amadis looks just like it! Thanks. If anyone wants cuttings, let me know and I’ll get some started. This is the easiest rose to propagate I’ve ever known.