"We are told that in Persia the tulip, whose blossom in its native country is scarlet, while the centre of its glowing cup is black, is used to express warm affection; and, when sent by a lover, will convey to the object of his attachment the idea that like this flower, his face is warm and his heart is consumed as a coal."
Anne Pratt:
The Field, the Garden and the Woodland (1838.)

   Tulips belong in Tulipa genus of the family Liliaceae, native to Southern Europe, North Africa, Asia and northeast to China and Japan.
   Tulips are perennial and are a bulbous plants. They have long leaves and flowers consist of six sepals .
   Most people think of Holland when they see a tulip in bloom. Actually tulip is the national flower of Iran and Turkey. It was first cultivated in 1000 AD by the Turks; the name "tulip" originates after the Turkish word for turban.
   Carolus Clusius, director of the Hortus Botanicus, Leiden introduced the tulip to The Netherlands and Western Europe sometime in the 17th century. He planted this beautiful flower in his gardens in Leiden. This act was the beginning of the beautiful tulip fields of The Netherlands today. Around 1637 "Tulipomania" started in The Netherlands and the trades began with the bulbs. Many hybrids were sold at prices that by today’s standards are unheard of.
   The obsession with tulips, speculations at the Tulips Stock Market ruined the finances of so many vendors and families that the Government had to step in. Trading tulips at the Stock Market was strictly restricted; tulip fields of growers.
   Stock of vendors not following the stern regulations were raided by the army and the uprooted tulips, bulbs stocks were piled up on the dams and shelled into the sea by heavy cannister fire.
  Tulips belong in Tulipa genus of the family Liliaceae, native to Southern Europe, North Africa, Asia and northeast to China and Japan.
   Most people think of Holland when they see a tulip in bloom. Actually tulip is the national flower of Iran and Turkey. It was first cultivated in 1000 AD by the Turks; the name "tulip" originates after the Turkish word for turban.
    Tulips do not grow in tropical areas as they require a cold winter to produce the flowers in the spring. The bulbs can be "forced" to bloom earlier or later by manipulating the temperatures. They can be grown from seed or offsets produced on the sides of the mature bulbs. Keep in mind growing from seed will not guarantee you will produce the same coloring as the parent plant. Offsets will take at least a year to grow to the size that will produce flowers. That is still better than growing from seed which takes up to seven years to flower.
   Tulips are perennial and are a bulbous plants. They have long leaves and flowers consist of six sepals. This interesting mutant on the photo above was caused by so-called mosaics in the genetic code, affecting here the synthesis of anthocyanin compounds responsible for flower colors.
   You can find tulips in almost every color of the rainbow, sizes and shapes. There is a sad note that the wonderful variegated varieties were actually patterns from a viral infection. This virus is known as the mosaic virus while producing beautiful patterns weakened and killed many plants. It is carried by aphids and can destroy fields of tulips.
   This terrible virus also affects orchids. The virus is now being controlled and the hybrids with the frilly petals and pretty coloration are from healthy stock now.
   There are many stories that have been written about this outstanding flower. In The Tulip: The Story of the Flower That Has Made Men Mad Anna Pavord writes:
   "Buried deep in the make-up of the flamboyant, cultivated tulips that fill flower shops in spring, must be the ghostly genes of their wild cousins…"
   My favorite novel about tulips is "The Black Tulip" by Alexandre Dumas (1850.).
In brief, the city of Harlem has a reward outstanding for the first grower who can produce a truly black tulip. This fascination with growing a black tulip, a task biologically impossible, was historically accurate to the "Tulipomania" in which the novel is set.
   The literature on tulips amount to libraries; for example here are quite several tulip books for you to choose from.
Botanical Illustration and Art
Dutch Gardens, Inc.



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