There's something odd and fascinating about coming across a flower that appears to be an endless hue of black. In truth, no flowers in nature can be completely black – most are deep purples.
Like the color blue, black simply doesn't occur frequently in natural foliage. Both colors rely on a chemical called anthocyanin, according to Janet Cubey of the Royal Horticultural Society. Careful selective breeding of flowers with high levels of these pigments can create a hue that's a dead-ringer for black.
Whether or not they're truly black, these darkly colored blooms add intrigue to any arrangement or garden. Symbols of elegance, power and mystery, black flowers are most often used for a dramatic farewell, according to a blog on Interflora. "A pure black flower is the Holy Grail to all flower breeders," Stefania del Zotto writes.
Take a look at some of the most stunning "black" blossoms.
'Queen of the Night' tulip
Black tulips are a unique variety, quite unlike anything in a typical Easter bouquet. There was even a book of the same name written by Alexandre Dumas, with one of the plot lines being a competition to create a real black tulip.
Embodying the essence of mystery, this flower also made its way into the public consciousness. In fact, you may be more familiar with the 2006 film about the famously named murder victim from the 1940s than you are with the flower itself.
Hellebore usually is white or pink, but the deep purple variety can appear black. Black hellebore is a poisonous plant and can even be deadly, adding to the intrigue of this peculiar plant.
Purple calla lily
Popular flowers for bouquets, purple calla lilies make a dramatic statement.
Orchid breeders are hard at work attempting to create hybrids that are truly black, but this brownish bloom occurs naturally in nature. It's fitting that this fascinating flower, called a bat orchid, wears a dark shade.
Your regular, garden-variety pansy also comes in a deep purple variety that appears black, though it's rare. Keep an eye out next time you see a bed of flowers!
Petunias come in surprisingly dark hues. In 2010, horticulturists perfected a formula for a natural flower that is as close as possible to black, naming it the "Black Velvet" petunia.
'Black widow' cranesbill geranium
A strange little bloom, Geranium phaeum goes by a few different names: dusky cranesbill, mourning widow and black widow. So it makes sense that this flower grows well in damp, shady areas.
A plant native to Mexico, chocolate cosmos is a gorgeous maroon bloom. Not only does this bloom share a hue with chocolate, but it smells delicious too!
Sporting the impressive name of "Black Magic" hollyhock, this variety of plants is a velvety bluish-purple, making for a unique deep hue.
Unlike chocolate cosmos, chocolate lilies emit a rather nasty smell. Indeed, these gloomy blooms are pollinated by the most hated of insects: flies.
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