new color in roses (cyan celebration) an alkaline ph mutation!

AndrewBarocco(9)August 15, 2013

I couldn't believe my eyes when it happened. The other day when I was tending to my roses and checking on the status of pollinated hips, I rejoiced as the sport I discovered on Angel Face several days prior was finally opening up. This is what happened.

The strange gray bud had caught my eye earlier in the week and I decided to keep a careful eye on it. While the sun was setting several days later I had to rub my eyes as I looked at the sport and noticed a very light, faint hint of cyan or sky blue. I know what you're thinking and no, this was not the usual "Blue Girl" type of stuff we are all used to seeing or a gray like "Amnesia" but rather a true light cyan mixed with subtle hints of sea green! I think the neighbors were a bit confused as to why I was examining it for such a long time. I will say one thing though, the camera does not pick up the "true" color as you would see it. The same effect happens if you try and take a picture of Ebb Tide, Twilight Zone, or Stormy Weather. The camera just cant get it right sometimes!

I thought about why this new color was being expressed and I developed a theory. Roses already produce a blue pigment Cyanidin, but it appears red or pink because of the pH aka high acidity of the petals. This is the same problem Suntory has. Even after forcefully putting the blue genes for Delphinidin in Applause, it still looks like just another Blue Girl because of the petal acidity. My theory was that this MUST be a sport that is causing the rose petals to have an alkaline composition instead of acidic, thereby turning the cyanidin blueish.

I decided to test my theory by running a pH analysis of the sport which I am naming "Cyan Celebration", Angel Face and other roses. I will post the results below, but first here are some pictures of my new rose Cyan Celebration. Note that these were all taken on an iPhone 4GS, they have not had their color photoshoped or edited in any way, and cameras' can have trouble capturing accurate representations of a roses color. Trust me when I say though, this rose has hints of light cyan in person!

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Ok lets start with our pH scale to judge how acidic or how alkaline our rose is:

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 6:57PM
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Ok so here are the results of the experiment. Using water, jars, a filter, pH indicator liquid, and a mortar and pestle, proceeded to test each roses' pH. I was very sure to keep all variables the same except that one solution contained the ground up petals of CC and the other had AF. I used bottled water as a control because it had a neutral 7 pH and because Baton Rouge and surrounding area has some of the most alkaline water in the nation so that wouldn't do.

Cyan Celebration on the left, Angel Face on the Right
You tell me what you think...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Also, for good measure I decided to test the acidity of the reddest rose I know, "In The Mood." After the same amount of petals had been mashed up, mixed with the same amount of water and strained just like before, I was left with a purple or violet colored liquid. Once I added the indicator the solution immediately turned this color though. Look at the color chart, do you see about a 5 like I do? What are everyone's thoughts and opinions on this?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:12PM
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Wow, pretty informative and an interesting experiment for sure. I hope you're able to propagate the sport without reversion.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:09PM
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Good luck, Andrew! I do hope it proves a stable sport and the genetics of it are transmissible and not just 'skin deep'. That has occurred with roses before. Golden Salmon and Gloria Mundi were the earliest examples of rose flowers expressing Pelargonidin, but neither were capable of breeding it into their offspring as they were examples of the mutation only changing the exterior tissues and not internal ones, including the sexual system. Pelargonidin had to wait for Miss Edith Cavell, and her offspring, Baby Chateau to enter modern roses. So, while the pigment was expressed by the former two polys, neither could transmit it. A parallel mutation out of Orleans Rose led to the seedling which eventually made its entry into breeding possible. Kim

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:05PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

You might want to try and photograph your rose on white paper and then white balance for the paper. Should get you closer to what you are seeing.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:58PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I wish you the best!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 10:03AM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I wish you the best!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 10:04AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

This is exciting, but let me introduce a complication to your research. I read a study that showed pH changing in the cell sap of flowers (or flowering shoots?) as the rose flower ages. The pH increased from slightly acid in the opening bud to neutral or slightly alkaline in the fading flower. This change causes most red roses to turn purplish as they age (although sunlight may play a role too). Some pigments that are red/pink in an acid environment turn purple in a pH neutral environment--I think that is the basis of the red cabbage trick..

So if you want to demonstrate a genetic difference in pH, you need to compare flowers of the same age.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 3:37PM
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Thanks everyone for the encouraging comments! Kim, right, I had known about the Pelargonidin mutations and I find it very inspiring and hopeful. Isn't it amazing how roses "find a way" and keep surprising us? Perhaps because of my decision, against the better advice of my fellow rosarians, to not shovel prune my Angel Face and believe in her, she has rewarded me with this sport lol? Kippy-the-Happy, excellent idea, the bloom I've tested was the first bloom but fortunately there are two others that will open within the next few days. I'll try to get better photographs of those. Michaelg, you are exactly right and I had already known of this phenomenon, which is why during my experiments I was sure to test blooms of the exact same age, even on the 'In The Mood'. Considering myself a true scientist, I like to practice the proper use of the scientific method and keep every single variable the same.

I'll do my best to propagate this sport but because I'm probably a novice at best when it comes to propagation, I might just slowly sacrifice the Angel Face, and prune it down until just the sport remains on the rootstock. I'm not pruning anything yet though because I don't want to mess anything up or loose the sport.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 2:10PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Should the sport turn out to be stable and significant, I'd advise against trying to root it. If you are a novice at rooting rose cuttings, you will probably kill them. At least that's what many of us did (and I still often do). The best thing to do it send a stem of budwood to an experienced budder.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 2:19PM
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Yes, this is exactly why all the roses I'm breeding must do well own root. I've lost many seedlings this way, but I don't care. When it comes to the future of roses we need the best of the best! Besides, from what I hear from rose trial grounds, everything is heading towards own root anyway.

That sounds like a good idea to get it budded. Do you know of any experienced budders on here that would be kind enough to help me out?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 3:15PM
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By the way, here is a comparison of the two side by side:

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 3:18PM
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Andrew, before you do anything to the plant, be sure to mark the potentially mutated growth so it doesn't accidentally get pruned off. Perhaps it may continue producing the possible mutation until there is sufficient growth to play with. From the appearance of the mutated flower, it appears to be demonstrating more of the Grey Pearl genes, which is most unfortunate. As you've already heard, Angel Farce isn't a "great" plant to begin with. If the mutation is anything like Grey Pearl in plant, it's like making the blind man, deaf. Grey Pearl is the single worst rose in my garden. Amazing flowers WHEN they arrive and IF I feel safe enough to let it flower, but the plant is a total train wreck. There is never any real disease issue with it. The plant simply doesn't like to grow, no matter what, and when it finally does provide you with begrudging inches, it "sheds" more than it produces through dieback. And this is with two BUDDED plants. Own root, it's like catching fleas during an outbreak of shingles! Kim

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 8:12PM
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There has been discussions about blue roses on facebook about blue roses. Someone said that Applause bred in Japan is the first blue rose. According to Helpmefind Roses the color is mauve. Any fotos of this rose out there?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:00AM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Here I go again. I still say this is the "bluest" rose around, including the Japanese efforts: Blue Bayou. Diane

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 2:05PM
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Are they kidding with that? That's a BLUE rose? Somebody needs new glasses or something. I have several lavenders that are bluer than that APPLAUSE!! No doubt it's a lovely "lavender" rose. But BLUE? Nope, not by my eyes!! (or anybody else's?)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 2:15PM
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That hype is specifically because Applause contains genes not indigenous to rosa. They initially marketed it in Japan where the aesthetic appreciates manipulation of Nature. Think bonsai trees; melons and fruit grown in lucite boxes to alter their shape to cubes, etc. That aesthetic also values the gift and the honor it is meant to bestow based upon the cost of the gift. You and I may be honored and pleased by the gift of a vase of flowers from the giver's garden. That aesthetic is more likely to feel more honored knowing each stem of the rose cost the giver $35 (Applause's initial sale price in Asia). Not that the bloom is actually "blue", but it does represent many years of genetic manipulation to alter the color of the initial rose from red to the mauve color it expresses. In that light, it is presented as "the blue rose", which is how it is accepted by that aesthetic. I agree the photos of Blue Bayou does appear rather "blue" in the pastel range. Some images of Rhapsody in Blue appear quite "blue" in the darker range. For the whole organism, its health, ease of growth and ability to flower in all types of weather here, Blue for You still wins, hands down in my book. I need to get hold of Blue Bayou. I have some definite ideas for breeding with it... Kim

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 2:38PM
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I've never heard of cyanidine expressing itself as blue. It is a red-to-purple plant pigment. To my knowledge the blue plant pigment is delphinidine. And that is what makes the Suntory Applause rose unique. The color being expressed is coming completely from delphinidine. Unfortunately the celluar pH isn't basic enough to fully express blue so what they got was lavender, which we already have in the mauve color class of roses.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:23AM
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