It is a popular experiment to introduce children to science: staining a rose with food colouring. This could be more interesting, thought one American student.

If you put a white rose in a vase with water and food colouring, the flower slowly absorbs the colour, which is reflected in the petals. A variation on this is to cut the stem in half and divide it between two vases of different colours for a special two-tone effect. But Rachel Weiss Clark of Florida State University has come up with a more ‘mature’ variation: using a dye she sometimes uses in the lab of her supervisor Lea Nienhaus – in this case Rhodamine 610 – you get a fluorescent variation, as shown in the picture. The Rhodamine Rose has been featured on the Chemistry in Pictures page of Chemistry & Engineering News.

Do you have any nice pictures of your experiments? Send them to and who knows, you might be featured in our magazine!


Beeld: Rachel Weiss Clark