Thursday, May 19, 2016

Think You Know Tulips? Thirteen Surprising Tulip Facts

This looks like a rose, but it's a tulip.

Tulips are probably one of the most recognized flowers. Currently, you can see the late spring bloomers in gardens and in grocery store bouquets. Tulips are a pretty common sight in April and May, at least in Wisconsin, but there are things about tulips that may surprise most of us.

This is rose.
1.Did you know that parts of the tulip are edible? You can eat the petals.
2. Supposedly, they have a range of flavors. I’ve not snacked on any myself, but several of my sources say the petals might taste like a bean or like a lettuce leaf or they might have no taste at all. 
3. Apparently, during WWII there were many food storages, so people resorted to eating tulip petals.
4. Most people though don’t value tulips for their taste. They like the tulip’s bright colors and the tulip’s almost perfectly symmetrical shape.
5. In fact, it’s the tulip’s shape that inspired its name, delband, a Persian word for turban. I’m not sure how that became tulip, but I suspect that it may have happened as tulips were carried from country to country. 
6. Originally, tulips grew in Asia. 
7. They still are very popular there. In fact, they are the national flower for both Turkey and Afghanistan.
8. But most people think of the Netherlands when they think of tulips. 
9. That’s probably because the Netherlands is still the world’s leading producer of tulips. 
10. One of my sources claims that the people in the Netherlands grow as many as 3 billion bulbs every year.
11. The man most people credit for starting the bulb industry in the Netherlands was a Flemish botanist named Carolus Clusius. 
12. When he became the director of Leiden University’s botanical gardens, he planted some of the first tulips ever grown in the Netherlands. That was around the year 1593.
13. And that was just the start. Carolus Clusius discovered a virus that altered the shape and color of tulip petals. He experimented and created a number of unique tulip varieties. This inspired tulip mania, an enthusiasm for bulbs, which caused what one source dubbed “an economic frenzy” around 1637. During the time, bulbs were sold at hugely inflated prices. It seems everyone wanted some tulips. 
This might be an example of one of the "broken tulips" Carolus Clusius developed 

I have to confess. I’m a bit of a tulip maniac, myself. I really enjoy growing them and I love sharing them. I hope that you’ll enjoy the virtual bouquets.




  1. Their loveliness is so fleeting .But I'm thrilled with the color palettes especially deep purple center on a white great post thanks

    1. Thanks Sandyland,
      I feel lucky that I still have some tulips blooming in my garden.

  2. I like tulips, too. I had some when we first moved into our home, but eventually the flower beds grew smaller and the tulips are no more. They are a lovely flower, though.

  3. CountryDew,
    That's one thing that makes me sad about tulips--that you can't make them multiply like daffodils or at least, I haven't figured it out yet.

  4. I LOVE tulips tu. So don't the deer around here. They eat the petals completely off.

    1. Hey Colleen,
      Yeah, deer can be a problem. I've got a lot of my tulips behind chicken wire. :)

  5. Wouldn't it be fun to have a character out on a petal tasting?

  6. Alice Audrey,
    Thanks. That's a great idea! We can both do that.