09/02/2018 07:35 GMT | Updated 09/02/2018 08:21 GMT

Would You Give Your Lover The New Mandela Rose For Valentine's?

The orange rose celebrates the late statesman's love of gardening, and passion for the environment.

A posy of Mandela roses placed in front of a portrait of Nelson Mandela by the Nelson Mandela foundation, which promotes Mandela's legacy. The Mandela rose is expected to be sold locally and internationally and proceeds will go to the foundation. Its CEO, Sello Hatang, says Mandela appreciated gardening and cared for the environment.

It's been 18 years in the making, but on Thursday, just days before Valentine's Day, South Africa finally welcomed a new bloom into its fold — the blissfully aromatic, blood-orange-coloured Mandela Rose.

The rose, that was unveiled at a function held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, saw celebrity gardener Keith Kirsten explaining that the idea came about at a meeting held in Alexandra township between the late statesman and himself shortly after Mandela was released from prison in 1990s.

The idea has been brewing back and forth between the family, with scientists hell-bent on creating the perfect semi-double hybrid rose in a spectacular orange vermillion hue.

Some 200 Mandela roses are currently available at the Lifestyle Garden Centre in Johannesburg, and other local retail outlets, but many more plants are expected soon.