In 1924, José Moreno Villa discovered for the poet a botany book of the nineteenth century (although Lorca would say somewhere in the eighteenth century) in which the mutable rose was described. A singular rose that is red when it opens, intensifies its color in full bloom and becomes pale when it begins to wither, until it turns white.
From Lorca we know that, when Moreno Villa finished telling him “…the marvelous tale of the rose”, he had already completed his comedy. “It appeared to me”, he says, “finished, unique, impossible to reform”. However, he would not write it until ten years later, although there are many texts that anticipate it throughout these years.
Lorca’s topic arose from the image of the three stages of the ephemeral life of the rose. The poet saw in the story of the mutable rose, as he called it, the dark drama of the spinsterhood of Spanish girls sacrificed by society and condemned to a stupid virginity.