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What shade of color is rose?

What shade of color is rose?

Rose is a complex color that can take on many different shades and hues. When most people think of rose, they picture a light pinkish red color. However, there are actually many varieties of roses in nature that produce flowers in different shades. The rose’s color is primarily derived from natural pigments in the flower petals. The main pigments that create the color in roses are anthocyanins, carotenoids, and flavonoids. By understanding how these pigments work, we can better analyze the diverse shades of rose that exist.


Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments that produce blue, purple, and red hues in plants. They are found in the cell vacuoles of petals and other plant tissues. Anthocyanins are pH-dependent, meaning their color changes based on the acidity levels of their environment. In roses, the anthocyanin pigment cyanidin gives red roses their bright crimson color. Higher cyanidin concentrations lead to deeper red hues. The relative concentration of cyanidin compared to other pigments determines the exact shade of red.

Anthocyanin Concentration

Anthocyanin Concentration Rose Color
High Deep crimson red
Moderate Red
Low Pale pink

As shown in the table above, higher levels of anthocyanins like cyanidin result in roses with deep, vivid red hues. When the concentration is lower, it produces softer pinks.


Carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments that create yellow, orange, and red colors. Common carotenoids found in roses include beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene. These pigments absorb blue and green light while reflecting orange and yellow wavelengths. In some rose varieties, carotenoid levels can be high enough to produce vivid yellow or orange petals. The concentration of carotenoids along with other pigments determines the final color.

Carotenoid Concentration

Carotenoid Concentration Rose Color
High Yellow, orange
Moderate Peach, coral
Low Pink, red

When carotenoids are present in high amounts, they shift the rose’s color towards yellows and oranges. With lower concentrations, they simply add warm undertones to pinks and reds.


Flavonoids are a class of pigments that include anthocyanins as well as other colorless, yellow, and red compounds. One flavonoid found in roses is kaempferol, which produces a yellow color. Like with carotenoids, the concentration of kaempferol impacts the intensity of yellow in a rose’s petals. Higher levels lead to more vivid yellows.

Flavonoid Concentration

Flavonoid Concentration Rose Color
High Yellow, gold
Moderate Peach, coral, pink
Low Red, pink, white

When flavonoids like kaempferol are present in large amounts, they lend bright golden yellow tones. With less concentration, they gently shift colors towards peach and coral shades.

Other Factors

In addition to pigment concentration, other factors impact the final color of a rose. These include:


As mentioned earlier, anthocyanin pigments change color based on pH. More acidic conditions make them appear more red, while neutral or alkaline conditions shift them towards blue and purple. A rose’s natural cell sap pH influences the anthocyanin hues.


Intermolecular interactions between anthocyanins and other compounds like flavonoids and organic acids can intensify and stabilize color. These co-pigmentation effects deepen and brighten red tones.

Metal Ions

Trace metals like iron and aluminum promote bluing of anthocyanins. Higher metal ion presence shifts red hues more towards purple.

Cell Shape & Structure

The shape and surface structure of cells in rose petals also affects how light is reflected and absorbed. This can influence the brightness and saturation of colors.

Common Rose Shades

With all these factors combined, roses can display a wide spectrum of colors. Here are some of the most common rose shades along with their pigment profiles:

Rose Color Pigments
Red High anthocyanins
Magenta High anthocyanins, metal ions
Purple High anthocyanins, neutral pH
Pink Moderate anthocyanins
Peach Low anthocyanins, moderate carotenoids
Yellow High flavonoids, carotenoids
Orange High carotenoids
Coral Low anthocyanins, moderate carotenoids
White No pigments

This table summarizes how combinations of the major rose pigments lead to diverse shades. Red roses get their color primarily from high anthocyanin content, while white roses contain no pigments at all. Intermediate colors occur through varying pigment levels and interactions.

Factors that Alter Rose Color

Now that we have covered the pigments that determine natural rose colors, let’s discuss some factors that can alter the expected shades:


As roses grow, changes in cell sap pH of the petals can turn colors more blue, purple, or red. More acidic pH values intensify red anthocyanin hues. Alkaline conditions make the color more blue or faded.


Growing conditions that are too hot or cold can stress the roses, reducing pigment production. This can result in paler washed-out colors compared to roses grown in ideal conditions.


Insufficient water prevents roses from producing anthocyanins and carotenoids at optimal levels. Too much water can dilute the pigment concentration, leading to lighter colors. Proper soil moisture is key for vibrant colors.


Anthocyanins and carotenoids require sufficient nutrients from the soil to form. Deficiencies in nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium typically deplete color intensity in roses.


Shade conditions inhibit carotenoid and anthocyanin synthesis compared to roses grown in full sun. Low light reduces color vibrancy.


As roses bloom, the petal cells age and pigment levels drop. Older open flowers become lighter and duller than fresh flowers.


Some rose varieties are genetically programmed to produce higher pigment levels than others. Even under identical conditions, genetic factors lead to natural color variations.


The shades of rose span a wide spectrum from vivid crimsons to soft blush pinks. This diversity arises from several plant pigments found in the flower petals. Anthocyanins, carotenoids, and flavonoids all contribute to producing red, pink, orange, yellow, and white rose colors. Factors like pigment concentration, pH, metals, and genetics all influence the final rose color. Growing conditions and age also affect the expected hues. Understanding these impacts helps explain the many alluring shades of roses found in nature. When it comes to rose color, the possibilities are endless!