The Legend of the Blue Rose

Updated on December 5, 2018
Deborah Minter profile image

Deborah is a research enthusiast! She takes special interest in the world's ancient mysteries.

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The rose is a symbol of romance. The Greeks believed the rose was created by Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Romans saw them as a symbol of beauty and love. No doubt their aroma and appearance is romantic and their fragrance is irresistible.

More than 30000 breeds of roses exist, it is impossible to know the exact number of how many different breeds there are, the names our nearly as beautiful as the roses themselves. The rose is known as the queen of flowers.

Roses are found in art and Literature. Its magical counterpart; it is known as the blue rose. It is the mysterious one, the one that is unattainable, mentioned in legend and impossible to find.

The red rose stands for passionate love. To hand someone a single red rose means "I love You."
The red rose stands for passionate love. To hand someone a single red rose means "I love You."

The Blue Rose

The blue rose does not exist. The pigment that makes flowers blue “delphinidin,” is not present in roses. Yet it is an ultimate desire to find or possess one. Perhaps because it is human nature to wish to have the unattainable. Blue roses are depicted in art and described in Legends. The blue rose is a flower found in fairy tales and myths. It is mentioned in “Rimsky-Korsakov’s fairy tale opera, “Sadko.” In Arabian Nights, magicians turned roses blue. There have been claims that the blue rose was found in gardens during history. In the thirteenth century Arabian botanist Ibn el-Awam listed the blue rose among those in his garden. The rose was never found or his claim confirmed. Modern scholars think he may have mistaken a form of Hibiscus Syriacus “The Rose of Sharon,” for blue.”

The closest thing to blue, in roses, is the purple or lavender rose. Especially when it begins to darken, sometimes the color turns to clear lilac.

The Legend of the Blue Rose

In Chinese Folklore there is a legend signifying honesty and attaining the impossible. Many variations of this legend can be found around the world. It is known as The Legend of the Blue Rose.

An Emperor’s daughter was to be married, her father allowed her to give one stipulation for her suitors. She said she would marry the man who could bring her the blue rose. This discouraged many seeking her hand in marriage, yet some suitors were determined to win her hand. A merchant paid a florist to give him a painted rose. When he presented the rose to the princess, the paint dripped on to her hand. “This is not a blue rose, I will not marry you,” she announced. Another man threatened a man in his village to find him a blue rose. The man from the village carved a rose, out of a sapphire. When it was presented to the princess, she replied “This is not a blue rose! I will not marry a man whose heart is as cold as this stone.” Another very cunning man asked a wizard to craft him a blue rose. The wizard gave him a box with a picture of an illusion of the blue rose inside. When presented to the princess, she reached her hand out to the rose to find that her hand simply passed through it. “I will not marry a man who is deceitful,” she replied. Later in the evening she told the gardener’s son that she wished she could marry him, they trusted one another and he was dear in her heart. “I will bring you the blue rose in the morning,” He replied. The next morning he presented the princess with a white rose. All pointed and whispered that it was a common white rose. The princess touched the white petals and replied, “This is a blue rose.” The emperor gave his blessing saying that, “If his daughter said it was a blue rose, it was a blue rose.” The princess and the gardener’s son were married. They lived happily ever after until the end of their days.

  • This legend was echoed in the 1961 film “The thief of Baghdad,” starring Steve Reeves. There is a search for a blue rose to cure Amina, the blue rose is destroyed. Karim gives her a white rose, claiming if she truly loves him it will be blue. The white rose turns blue and cures Amina.

The Meaning of the Blue Rose

There are many meanings and symbols attached to roses. Each color signifies a meaning of emotion or love. The blue rose signifies True love, associated with the unattainable. A blue rose can mean unreachable, unattainable or unrequited love.

  • The purple rose means Love at for sight. Since the purple and blue rose are sometimes seen as the same. Love at for sight is sometimes given to the blue rose as its meaning.

The Blue rose represents the unreachable or unattainable.
The Blue rose represents the unreachable or unattainable.

Exotic Roses

The blue rose might have not been found, but other exotic roses have been discovered.

  • The black rose exists. This rare black rose can only be found in Turkey, in the village of Halfeti. It is the only place in the world that is home to the black roses. The river vefratis creates the perfect soil and just the right amount of PH levels is in the ground water. The color black, only occurs in the summer months. The crimson roses darken and turn black. In turkey the black rose signifies death, foreboding, or passion.

  • The green rose is just as much part of the rose family as any other. Although its appearance can sometimes be compared to that of a monster, many see this rose as beautiful.

The green rose does not appear as a common rose, but the green rose is part of the rose family.
The green rose does not appear as a common rose, but the green rose is part of the rose family.

Genetically Engineered

In modern times, with modern technology, we have provided our very own search for the blue rose. In 2004, genetic modification of the white rose was attempted, to create a blue rose. Most resulted in purple, or blue with red tints. There are claims that in 2008 attempts succeeded, and blue roses were sold in Japan. Most were sold with red tints, and some looked blue, though it is said they are not truly the color blue.

Painted Roses

Painting roses has become a common tradition in rose shops, and crafts. Roses are painted in all colors, and blue is a favorite color to paint a rose to give as a gift. Painted blue roses are popular in florist shops.

The blue rose bears the beauty of rose petals, and the magical quality of it's color.
The blue rose bears the beauty of rose petals, and the magical quality of it's color.

There is a desire to find or possess the blue rose. Even if the blue rose can never be found, it will remain shrouded in mystery in our legends and myths. If someone does find a blue rose someday, its fragrance and uniqueness may be cherished, after all a rose by any other name will smell just as sweet.


Video: “Turkish village of Halfeti, home to rare black roses.”

“The Ultimate Rose Book” Abrams

Questions & Answers

  • Do you know who invented the first blue rose?

    The Blue rose stems from legend. There is no way of knowing who told the first tale or if there is a basis of truth to it's existence.


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    • profile image

      adda simpz 

      6 days ago

      So... this is why i love blue rose very much.

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      Blue rose is my favourite flower

    • Deborah Minter profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Minter 

      17 months ago from U.S, California

      I am glad the blue rose has such a beautiful meaning for you.

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      As i started my journey on obtaining my love, i started by sending her all color of roses, i decided to send her the blue rose last. As i researched the meaning of the blue rose, i came across your article. Now, it makes sense to me why i chosed the blue rose as my last rose to be delivered. Thank you for sharing with us the legend of the blue rose! Without even knowing, i created a new legend! Hopefully one day i get to meet you so i can tell you all about it! I'll make sure to send you a copy of my book once its all set and done! Love to you and to everyone!

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I love flowers and I love a myth.

      Really enjoyed your article on the Blue Rose.

      Unrequieted love is something I know about.


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