There is no such thing as a black flower. Simply because black is no color in nature. Let's dig deeper into the how and why and how a black flower is a holy grail for a breeder.
Attract the Buyer
The flower names that suggest you will get a black flower are numerous. Simply, because they sound exciting and attract the buyer. Who hasn't heard of roses, tulips, callas, or other flowers and plants named Black Angel, Black Baccara, Black Beauty, Black Candy, Black Eye, Black Ice, Black Love, Black Magic, to name a few?
In nature, black is not very common. Yes, animals can be black; we know black cats, the black panther, spiders, snakes, blackbirds, and those funny coots. These colors are for their protection, often to make them more dangerous. But with flowers, this does not work so well. There is an explanation, as you will see later in this blog. We, humans, are much attracted to the color black. Just look around you. Despite the fact that most countries around the world have multiculti and very colorful societies the color most seen in our clothes is still black. Most cars in any given country are black, so are most things. Look around and start counting.
Alexandre Dumas' Black Tulip
A famous story is about the quest for a 'black tulip' that started in the 'Dutch Golden Age', the 17th century. Holland, being the economic center of the world, got crazy about tulips. Prices rose to an unprecedented level. This inspired Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers) to write his novel La Tulipe Noire, about the presumed impossible task to create a black tulip. Spoiler: In the novel, the black tulip was almost found, but not quite. I guess that ever since the race was on for breeders to create the first-ever perfectly black tulip. It's the year 2020 and we're still looking...
Black Is Not a Color
Ask a scientist and you'll get a reply based on physics: “Black is not a color, white is a color.” Ask an artist or a child with crayons and you'll get another: “Black is a color, white is not a color." Who do you believe?
Black Is Sexy
Black has many aspects, though, why we adore it. This is mostly for psychological reasons. There have been elaborate studies about this, summarized in this article on Color Psychology Meaning. Besides associations with negativity and evil, the color black is linked to intelligence, style, seriousness, and wealth. Yes, red is sexy, but so is black.
B(l)ack to the Flowers
The secret of why flowers cannot be black is perhaps that black is not a color at all. With animals, the color black is caused by pigment that they produce. That is why animals can slightly shift color, just like we get a tan when sunbathing. This concludes my thesis that there is no such thing as a black flower. We come very close, though. Very dark purple or brown almost looks black. But that is as far as it gets until we truly find the holy grail.