Flower Bio: Tulip

Flower Bio: Tulip
  • Posted October 23, 2015

Botanical Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Related To: mariposa lilies, fritillary, toad lilies, trout lilies, Easter lilies

Born In: the wild 75 species of tulips originate in the Mediterranean basin, Middle East and the mountains of Western China, Pakistan and Afghanistan

Bred By: the sultans of the Ottoman Empire were the earliest tulip breeders, but it was the Dutch who famously bred and obsessed over tulips, a horticultural and cultural phenomenon instigated by the famous breeder Carolus Clusius in the late 16th century; to this day the Dutch are still the number one tulip-breeding country, exporting over 2 billion bulbs each year

All-Star Varieties: 'Purissima' (early-blooming fragrant white variety); 'Orange Cassini' (mid-season orange variety with apricot edges; 'Rococo' (a cardinal red, early parrot tulip)

'Purissima''Orange Cassini''Rococo'

Fun Fact: During the Dutch tulip craze of 1636 – 1637, the price of the most exotically colored bulbs reached 10 times the average annual wage of Dutch workers. Unfortunately, the striated color patterns of the tulips that caused the frenzy were the result of a virus (though this fact was not understood until two centuries later) and were not genetically viable enough for their propagation to continue.

Brian Barth
About the Author

After 15 years as a professional landscape designer and horticulturalist, Brian Barth embarked on a second career to share his passion—and the knowledge he's accrued—through writing. His love of plants is all-encompassing, but he has a particular soft spot for culinary crops.

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Flower Bio: Tulip