science: The advance could be applied to other species—and it may mean that florists wanting to hawk blooms of blue will no longer have to dye them. by Elizabeth Pennisi
'“This [advance] is of great impact,” says Toru Nakayama, a plant biochemist at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, who was not involved with the work. There are several popular commercial species for which no true blue varieties exist, he notes.
'We all think we’ve seen blue flowers before. And in some cases, it’s true. But according to the Royal Horticultural Society’s color scale—the gold standard for flowers—most “blues” are really violet or purple. Florists and gardeners are forever on the lookout for new colors and varieties of plants, however, but making popular ornamental and cut flowers, like roses, vibrant blue has proved quite difficult. “We’ve all been trying to do this for a long time and it’s never worked perfectly,” says Thomas Colquhoun, a plant biotechnologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville who was not involved with the work.'