Scientists from flower breeding company Ball Colegrave have created the world's first all-black petunia plant, called Black Velvet; the new flowers were developed using natural breeding techniques to turn them a dark black colour and will be on sale at a premium price of 2-3 pounds per plant.
Flower breeder Jianping Ren developed the new plants at Ball Colegrave. She said: 'The black colour did not exist in petunias before, so it has to come from the right recombination of a novel colour mutant and multiple regular colour genetic backgrounds.
The flower took plant breeders in the US four years to create. Now, after a year of field trials in the UK to ensure it can tolerate our climate, its creators are launching it.
In nature, flowers come in pretty much any colour you like – as long as it's not black. The pigments that flowers employ to colour their petals don't produce black.
The creators of the new petunia - dubbed "Black Velvet" - claim theirs is the blackest bloom yet produced.
Anthocyanins can produce red and blue. By selecting flowers with the highest levels of these pigments and breeding them together, it's possible to create very dark purple petals and leaves.
The new petunia is in fact, like all "black" flowers, a very dark purple.
Stuart Lowen, marketing manager with the Banbury horticulture firm which developed the flower, Ball Colegrave, said: "It's completely unique. It's the first black petunia anywhere in the world. It was created by experimenting with existing colours already on the market and breeding them using traditional methods...
"They say black goes with anything, and it really looks exceptionally striking in the garden - it goes very well with whites, yellows and pinks. It's rare to get a flower as black as this - very seldom do you get anything this dark.
The Guinness World record for the tallest rose bush is 5.66 m (18 ft 7 in), grown by Robert Bendel (USA) at his home in Morristown, New Jersey, USA.
Guinness World Records also recognized the tallest zinnias which have been grown by Everett Wallace Jr. and Melody Wagner. These measured 8 ft 8 in, 9 ft 8 in, 12 ft 6 in, and 12 ft 8.