05 June 2010

Blue Flowers in the Wall Street Journal

Ian Scroggy took these photos of blue poppies in a private garden in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK. Ian posted them on the Daffodil Network (daffnet) and gave me permission to post them here.


ANNE MARIE CHAKER had a piece in the WSJ about blue flowers - which I LOVE. I won't copy/paste the entire piece but will encourage you to go read it.

Here are a couple of excerpts and the link

"Blue is the most elusive, most coveted color in gardening, where some of the most skilled practitioners take pleasure in attempting to grow the near- impossible. Much of what passes for blue in the plant world—lavender, lilac, larkspur - is actually a shade of purple.

Plant colors are the products of chemical "pathways" in a plant, the molecular reactions responsible for everything from attracting pollinators to converting light to food. Pigments known as anthocyanins produce a range of colors including red and violet. Others known as carotenoids produce shades of orange. But no single pigment produces a true blue. Additional steps at the molecular level, involving the addition of metal ions or other molecules, are necessary to achieve blue - which helps explain the color's scarcity.

A mystique has evolved around blue flowers over centuries, with searches for the legendary blue rose appearing both in Slavic myths and Chinese folk tales. An Australian research arm of the Japanese conglomerate Suntory Holdings Ltd. introduced a blue gene from pansies into a rose to create a blue rose, the "Applause," which it plans to introduce in North America in the next couple of years, a Suntory official in Tokyo says."

Tip of the trowel to Chaker. Good writing and a fascinating subject. Click on the link above to read the entire piece.

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