Tulips belong to the genus Tulipa in the lily family (Liliaceae). There are around 100 species and over 3000 different varieties of cultivated Tulips. They grow wild in Central Asia, through Siberia to China.
Tulips are one of the most popular spring flowers and one of the most popular flowers worldwide. They come in many varieties of colors and shapes and are great for pots, borders and as cut flowers.
The genus name comes from the Turkish word “tulbend”, meaning “turban” because the shape of the flower is similar to turban.
Tulips, especially red ones, symbolize true, deep and undying love.
White Tulips symbolize purity, orange Tulips symbolize energy and passion, while purple Tulips mean royalty.
Interesting facts about Tulipa:
Tulips in Turkey
Although Tulips are associated with Holland, their cultivation began in the Ottoman Empire. The first Tulips were cultivated by Turkish growers as early as 1000 AD.
Historically, Tulips were considered as the symbol of the Ottoman Empire. The Tulip Era was a period in Ottoman history (1718-1730) that was marked by cultural innovation, internal peace and prosperity.
Today, Tulip is a national symbol of Turkey and one of the most important symbols of Istanbul.
If you’re visiting Istanbul in April you can’t miss the International Istanbul Tulip Festival, organised under the leadership of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. During April, you can see the millions of Tulips throughout the city’s parks, avenues and gardens.
Tulips in Holland
Tulips were imported into Holland in the 16th century. They are national symbols in Holland and often feature in folklore and literature. In the spring it is fun to drive across the country along the beautiful Tulip fields.
Tulipmania is a term used to describe a period in the Dutch history in the 17th century when Tulip prices reached unbelievably high levels and then dramatically collapsed.
During the 17th century in Holland, Tulips were so valuable that they were considered to be worth more than a gold. One bulb could cost upward of $2000. This craze caused the crash of the Dutch economy. It was the first recorded economic bubble and also example of the dangers of financial speculation. It still remains unknown what caused dramatic rise and fall in Tulip prices.
Are Tulips Poisonous?
Almost all parts of the plant contain toxic compounds that can cause illness. Eating Tulips can cause depression, nausea, abdominal pain and even death.
Tulip fingers is a form of allergic contact dermatitis, caused by contact with Tulip bulbs or sap, and appears as redness or eczema on the thumb and fingers. It is an irritating rash that can occur in people who frequently handle Tulip bulbs.
Benefits and Uses
Some medical books have reported medicinal uses of Tulips, but there has always been a lack of scientific research to support these benefits.
It is said to help against a cough, cold, fever, headache, rashes, sores and generally sensitive skin.
Tulip essential oil is used in the aromatherapy and helps ease stress, as it creates a feeling of happiness and security.
Some parts of the Tulip are edible, but you should avoid ingesting the leaves and stems though. In some areas, Tulip bulbs are a good replacement for onions in cooking.
However, Tulips should not be considered food and should not be part of what you consider nourishment.
The extract of the plant is used in many cosmetic products.
Tulips are popular ornamental flowers with thousands of varieties available.
Annuals, Bulbs, Perennials
You will find Tulips in nearly every color and pattern.
Tulips can be short (less than 20 cm or 8 inches), medium (20-45 cm or 8-18 inches) and tall (greater than 45 cm or 18 inches).
These plants prefer fertile, moist, soft and well drained soil.