|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Holy tarnations! Violet carnations!?!
Violet-colored carnations don’t seem to be too weird unless you consider they’re an offshoot of the quest to develop a blue rose that is being carried out by the company that made a Japanese whiskey judged the finest in the world, Shukan Asahi (5/17-24) notes.
A subsidiary of Suntory Inc., the Japanese brewer of beer and world-class whiskey, come up with Moondust carnations that, instead of typical red, are a deep violet color reminiscent of the lunar surface.
Sounds like bulldust, but Moondust carnations have been on the Japanese market since ’97, but have started attracting attention again recently for a number of reasons. Improved production methods have made Moondust carnations more common. They were also the first products approved for production after Japan gave the green light to growing genetically modified flora in February.
But Moondust carnations would never have even emerged had it not been for blue roses.
“Roses have been cultivated since Biblical times. This continuous process of seeking improvement has resulted in the creation of over 20,000 varieties of roses, but, for some reason, it has been impossible to make a blue rose,” Yoshihiro Ueda, a professor at Chiba University, tells Shukan Asahi.
Ueda says that before a genetically modified blue rose can be conjured up, the genes that prevent roses from turning to blue have to first be eliminated. Finding these genes is a task so difficult, though, it’s almost as though Mother Nature is green thumbing her nose at the brainiacs working on the problem.
“Theoretically, and technology viewpoint, we’ve reached the point where we should be capable of producing blue roses, but the biggest problem has probably been companies struggling with the flagging economy, limiting the amount of funds and human resources that can be devoted research,” Ueda tells Shukan Asahi.
Suntory Flowers, the number of the brewing conglomerate, has been working on the development of a blue rose since 80’s. The company hasn’t made it so far, but Moondust carnations are one of the by-products of its research.
Now, Moondust carnations are grown at special farms the company owns in Ecuador and Colombia and sell for 300 to 400 yen apiece in Japan. Only 400,000 Moondust carnations are produced yearly and they sell like hotcakes.
“Carnation have got the fastest cultivation of cycle of the three main types of cut flowers of which they are one and are joined by roses and chrysanthemums,” Suntory Flowers Managing Director Hiroshi Uratani tells Shukan Asahi, explaining why Moondust carnations were the first cabs off the rank. “We’ve already developed five different variations and sold some 9 million flowers around the world.”