Single-pass sequences were obtained from the 5'-ends of a total of 1794 rose petal cDNA clones. Cluster analysis identified 242 groups of sequences and 635 singletons indicating that the database represents a total of 877 genes. Putative functions could be assigned to 1151 of the transcripts. Expression analysis indicated that transcripts of several of the genes identified accumulated specifically in petals and stamens. The cDNA library and expressed sequence tag database described here represent a valuable resource for future research aimed at improving economically important rose characteristics such as flower form, longevity and scent.