Black Roses - Facts, Curiosities and a bit of History

Black Roses - Facts, Curiosities and a bit of History

Posted by Customer Support on

Roses come in gorgeous colours for us to enjoy. Be it a classic red or a royal purple. From frosted white to elegant pink, roses are versatile flowers that fit any occasion.

The Origin of Black Roses

Black roses are surprisingly popular. But while most other colours grow naturally, where did black roses originate?

The Rose is thought to have originally come from Central Asia and spread throughout northern Europe. The earliest known imagery of black roses comes from Ancient Greece and Rome. The Black Rose was tied to masculinity and represented power or sinister intent.

Black roses would then endure as symbols of power, largely implying death or misfortune. The Victorians, in particular, would use black roses to mourn for the loss of a loved one or to say goodbye to a friend or loved one in transit away.

Black Roses are a great symbol of power. There are even myths that the Sicilian Mafia would send a black rose as an omen of murder or assassination. This mythos and lore surrounding black roses continued to grow throughout the 20th century.

 A Single black rose captured with water droplets on the petals
Single Black Rose

What are Black Roses?

Black roses are not naturally occurring in nature and exist due to human intervention: they are extremely darkly shaded. Usually, this is a white or red rose soaked in black dye. You can also find different breeds of black-petaled roses. These include:

  • Dark Jade,
  • Black Baccara,
  • Midnight Blue.

As anticipated, all these roses are darkly shaded, not pure black. However, that has not stopped people's imaginations from running wild.

There was a myth in the early days of the internet that black roses could be found only in a small Turkish town called Halfeti. The narrative claimed they grew there because of the PH of the water.

It turned out this was only partly true, as the PH in the water did naturally darken the colour of the flowers, but not enough to make them black.

A Black Baccara Rose growing on green leaves
A Black Baccara Rose

How Were Black Roses Cultivated?

We can manipulate rose petal pigments in many ways due to how plant breeding occurs. Pollen is how flowering plants trade genetic information, strengthening their species against disease, trampling by animals or deterring pests.

Humans have achieved the same level of control by learning how pollination occurs. We artificially intervene in the process to achieve our desired characteristics.

Different breeds, such as Dark Jade, have arisen thanks to horticulturalists' breeding of darker-coloured flowers. This breeding involves the rather tedious method of hand-pollinating two dark-coloured roses enough times that very dark roses, very close to black, will naturally start to grow.

Today, black roses are artificially designed to be that colour or have had their genetics manipulated to alter how petals grow. Since we discovered DNA, this has allowed cultivators to have various rose shapes and colours in the past 60 years. There is no reason why in the future, a solely genetically modified pure black rose wouldn't be possible to exist.

Two roses of a black and deep red colour
Three Very Dark Roses

How else are Roses Altered?

Roses are typically tinted to achieve a truly dark tint close to black and feature the beloved glossy, velvet-like appearance. Sometimes, black is obtained with colour pigments.

Another way to obtain a black rose is to preserve it. These are often called "stabilised" roses, where the water molecules within the rose have been removed with glycerine, so they no longer dry out.

Single Black Infinity Rose in elegant transparent Acrylic Jewellery Box
Single Black Infinity Rose

A More Sustainable Future

Much like the stabilised process, our roses are all naturally preserved to last far longer than any other naturally grown rose.

From being grown on our B-Corp Fairtrade farm to being naturally preserved, each of our infinity roses is designed to last for years without harming the planet. We believe sustainability is the key to a brighter floral future, influencing everything we do. Find out more about our sustainable practices here.

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