Breeding programmes have produced thousands of hybrid and cultivars in addition to the original species (known in horticulture as botanical tulips). They are popular throughout the world, both as ornamental garden plants and as cut flowers.
Tulipa (tulips) is a genus of spring-blooming perennial herbaceous bulbiferous geophytes, dying back after flowering to an underground storage bulb. Depending on the species, tulip plants can be between 10 and 70 cm (4 and 28 inches) high.
Tulip flowers come in a wide variety of colours, except pure blue (several tulips with "blue" in the name have a faint violet hue), and have absent nectaries. Tulip flowers are generally bereft of scent and are the coolest of floral characters. The Dutch regarded this lack of scent as a virtue, as it demonstrates the flower's chasteness.
While tulips can be bred to display a wide variety of colours, black tulips have historically been difficult to achieve. The Queen of the Night tulip is as close to black as a flower gets, though it is, in fact, a dark and glossy maroonish purple - nonetheless, an effect prized by the Dutch. The first truly black tulip was bred in 1986 by a Dutch flower grower in Bovenkarspel, Netherlands. The specimen was created by cross-breeding two deep purple tulips, the Queen of the Night and Wienerwald tulips.
Tulipanin is an anthocyanin found in tulips. It is the 3-rutinoside of delphinidin. The chemical compounds named tuliposides and tulipalins can also be found in tulips and are responsible for allergies. Tulipalin A, or α-methylene-γ-butyrolactone, is a common allergen, generated by hydrolysis of the glucoside tuliposide A. It induces a dermatitis that is mostly occupational and affects tulip bulb sorters and florists who cut the stems and leaves. Tulipanin A and B are toxic to horses, cats and dogs. The colour of a tulip is formed from two pigments working in concert; a base colour that is always yellow or white, and a second laid-on anthocyanin colour. The mix of these two hues determines the visible unitary colour. The breaking of flowers occurs when a virus suppresses anthocyanin and the base colour is exposed as a streak.
The great majority of tulips, both species and cultivars, have no discernable scent, but a few of both are scented to a degree, and Anna Pavord describes T. Hungarica as "strongly scented", and among cultivars, some such as "Monte Carlo" and "Brown Sugar" are "scented", and "Creme Upstar" "fragrant".
The word tulip, first mentioned in western Europe in or around 1554 and seemingly derived from the "Turkish Letters" of diplomat Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, first appeared in English as tulipa or tulipant, entering the language by way of French: tulipe and its obsolete form tulipan or by way of Modern Latin tulipa, from Ottoman Turkish tülbend ("muslin" or "gauze"), and may be ultimately derived from the Persian: دلبند delband ("Turban"), this name being applied because of a perceived resemblance of the shape of a tulip flower to that of a turban. This may have been due to a translation error in early times when it was fashionable in the Ottoman Empire to wear tulips on turbans. The translator possibly confused the flower for the turban.
Tulips are mainly distributed along a band corresponding to latitude 40 north, from southeast of Europe (Greece, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Southern Serbia, Bulgaria, most part of Romania, Ukraine, Russia) and Turkey in the west, through the Levant (Syria, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon and Jordan) and the Sinai Peninsula. From there it extends eastwards through Jerevan, (Armenia) and Baku (Azerbaijan) and on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea through Turkmenistan, Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent (Uzbekistan), to the eastern end of the range in the Pamir-Alai and Tien-Shan mountains in Central Asia, which form the centre of diversity. Further to the east, Tulipa is found in the western Himalayas, southern Siberia, Inner Mongolia, and as far as the northwest of China. While authorities have stated that no tulips west of the Balkans are native, subsequent identification of Tulipa sylvestris subsp. australis as a native of the Iberian peninsula and adjacent North Africa shows that this may be a simplification. In addition to these regions in the west tulips have been identified in Greece, Cyprus and the Balkans. In the south, Iran marks its furthest extent, while the northern limit is Ukraine. Although tulips are also throughout most of the Mediterranean and Europe, these regions do not form part of the natural distribution. Tulips were brought to Europe by travellers and merchants from Anatolia and Central Asia for cultivation, from where they escaped and naturalised (see map). For instance, less than half of those species found in Turkey are actually native. These have been referred to as neo-tulipae.
Botrytis tulipae is a major fungal disease affecting tulips, causing cell death and eventually the rotting of the plant. Other pathogens include anthracnose, bacterial soft rot, blight caused by Sclerotium rolfsii, bulb nematodes, other rots including blue molds, black molds and mushy rot.
The fungus Trichoderma viride can infect tulips, producing dried leaf tips and reduced growth, although symptoms are usually mild and only present on bulbs growing in glasshouses.
Cultivation of the tulip began in Iran (Persia), probably in the 10th century. Early cultivars must have emerged from hybridisation in gardens from wild collected plants, which were then favoured, possibly due to flower size or growth vigour. The tulip is not mentioned by any writer from antiquity, therefore it seems probable that tulips were introduced into Anatolia only with the advance of the Seljuks. In the Ottoman Empire, numerous types of tulips were cultivated and bred, and today, 14 species can still be found in Turkey. Tulips are mentioned by Omar Kayam and Jalāl ad-Dīn Rûmi. Species of tulips in Turkey typically come in red, less commonly in white or yellow. The Ottoman Turks had discovered that these wild tulips were great changelings, freely hybridizing (though it takes 7 years to show colour) but also subject to mutations that produced spontaneous changes in form and colour.
Sultan Ahmet III maintained famous tulip gardens in the summer highland pastures (Yayla) at Spil Dağı above the town of Manisa. They seem to have consisted of wild tulips. However, of the 14 tulip species known from Turkey, only four are considered to be of local origin, so wild tulips from Iran and Central Asia may have been brought into Turkey during the Seljuk and especially Ottoman periods. Also, Sultan Ahmet imported domestic tulip bulbs from the Netherlands.
The gardening book Revnak'ı Bostan (Beauty of the Garden) by Sahibül Reis ülhaç Ibrahim Ibn ülhaç Mehmet, written in 1660 does not mention the tulip at all, but contains advice on growing hyacinths and lilies. However, there is considerable confusion of terminology, and tulips may have been subsumed under hyacinth, a mistake several European botanists were to perpetuate. In 1515, the scholar Qasim from Herat in contrast had identified both wild and garden tulips (lale) as anemones (shaqayq al-nu'man), but described the crown imperial as laleh kakli.
In a Turkic text written before 1495, the Chagatay Husayn Bayqarah mentions tulips (lale). Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, also names tulips in the Baburnama. He may actually have introduced them from Afghanistan to the plains of India, as he did with other plants like melons and grapes.
Although it is unknown who first brought the tulip to Northwestern Europe, the most widely accepted story is that it was Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, an ambassador for Emperor Ferdinand I to Suleyman the Magnificent. According to a letter, he saw "an abundance of flowers everywhere; Narcissus, hyacinths and those in Turkish called Lale, much to our astonishment because it was almost midwinter, a season unfriendly to flowers." However, in 1559, an account by Conrad Gessner describes tulips flowering in Augsburg, Swabia in the garden of Councillor Heinrich Herwart. In Central and Northern Europe, tulip bulbs are generally removed from the ground in June and must be replanted by September for the winter. It is doubtful that Busbecq could have had the tulip bulbs harvested, shipped to Germany and replanted between March 1558 and Gessner's description the following year. Pietro Andrea Mattioli illustrated a tulip in 1565 but identified it as a narcissus.
Carolus Clusius is largely responsible for the spread of tulip bulbs in the final years of the 16th century; he planted tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573. He finished the first major work on tulips in 1592 and made note of the variations in colour. After he was appointed the director of the Leiden University's newly established Hortus Botanicus, he planted both a teaching garden and his private garden with tulips in late 1593. Thus, 1594 is considered the date of the tulip's first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the cultivation of tulips in private gardens in Antwerp and Amsterdam two or three decades earlier. These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both the tulip mania and the tulip industry in the Netherlands. Over two raids, in 1596 and in 1598, more than one hundred bulbs were stolen from his garden.
Tulips spread rapidly across Europe, and more opulent varieties such as double tulips were already known in Europe by the early 17th century. These curiosities fitted well in an age when natural oddities were cherished and especially in the Netherlands, France, Germany and England, where the spice trade with the East Indies had made many people wealthy. Nouveaux riches seeking wealthy displays embraced the exotic plant market, especially in the Low Countries where gardens had become fashionable. A craze for bulbs soon grew in France, where in the early 17th century, entire properties were exchanged as payment for a single tulip bulb. The value of the flower gave it an aura of mystique, and numerous publications describing varieties in lavish garden manuals were published, cashing in on the value of the flower. An export business was built up in France, supplying Dutch, Flemish, German and English buyers. The trade drifted slowly from the French to the Dutch. 041b061a72