- Tulip.jpg|thumb|344px|right|Tulips - WWC Archives]] A tulip is a bulbous plant in the genus Tulipa, comprising 109 species with showy flowers in the family Liliaceae The species native range includes southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia from Anatolia and Iran in the west to northeast of China. The centre of diversity of the genus is in the Pamir and Hindu Kush moutains and the steppes of Kazakhstan A number of species and many hybrid cultivars are grown in gardens, used as pot plants or as fresh cut flowers. Most cultivars of tulip are derived from Tulipa gesneriana
Description Of The FlowerEdit
The species are perennials from bulbs, the tunicate bulbs often produced on the ends of stolons and covered with hairless to variously hairy papery coverings. The species include short low-growing plants to tall upright plants, growing from 10 to 70 centimeters (4–27 in) tall. They can even grow in the cold and snowy winter. Plants typically have 2 to 6 leaves, with some species having up to 12 leaves. The cauline foliage is strap-shaped, waxy-coated, usually light to medium green and alternately arranged. The blades are somewhat fleshy and linear to oblong in shape. The large flowers are produced on scapes or subscapose stems normally lacking bracts. The stems have no leaves to a few leaves, with large species having some leaves and smaller species have none. Typically species have one flower per stem but a few species have up to four flowers. The colourful and attractive cup shaped flowers typically have three petals and three sepals, which are most often termed tepals because they are nearly identical. The six petaloid tepals are often marked near the bases with darker markings. The flowers have six basifixed, distinct stamens with filaments shorter than the tepals and the stigmas are districtly 3-lobed. The ovaries are superior with three chambers. The 3 angled fruits are leathery textured capsules, ellipsoid to subglobose in shape, containing numerous flat disc-shaped seeds in two rows per locule. The flat, light to dark brown seeds are arranged in two rows per chamber and have very thin seed coats and endosperm that does not normally fill the entire seed coat
Where The Flower's Name OriginatesEdit
Although tulips are associated with Holland, commercial cultivation of the flower began in the Ottoman Empire. The tulip, or lale (from Persian لاله, lâleh) as it is also called in Iran and Turkey, is a flower indigenous to a vast area encompassing parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe. The word tulip, which earlier appeared in English in forms such as tulipa or tulipant, entered the language by way of French tulipe and its obsolete form tulipan or by way of Modern Latin tulīpa, from Ottoman Turkish tülbend ("muslin" or "gauze"), and is ultimately derived from the Persian language dulband ("turban"). (The English word turban, first recorded in English in the 16th century, is a cognate.)
History Of The TulipEdit
The Tulip was originally a wild flower, growing in Central Asia. It was first cultivated by the Turks as early as 1000 AD, The flower was introduced in Western Europe and the Netherlands in the 17th century by Carolus Clusius, a famous biologist from Vienna. In the 1590�s he became the director of the Hortus Botanicus, the oldest botanical garden of Europe, in Leinden.. He was hired by the University of Leinden to research medicinal plants and, while doing so, he received some bulbs from his friend, Ogier de Busbecq, the Ambassador to Constantinople (presently Istanbul). He had seen the beautiful flower called the tulip, after the Turkish word for turban, growing in the palace gardens and sent a few to Clusius for his garden in Leinden.He planted them and this was the beginning of the amazing bulb fields we see today.
In the beginning of the 17th century, the tulip was starting to be used as a garden decoration in addition to its medicinal use. It soon gained major popularity as a trading product, especially in Holland. The interest in the flower was huge and bulbs sold for unbelievably high prices. Botanists began to hybridize the flower. They soon found ways of making the tulip even more decorative and tempting. Hybrids and mutations of the flower were seen as rarities and a sign of high status. In the months of late 1636 to early 1637, there was a complete Tulipmania in the Netherlands. Some varieties could cost more than an Amsterdam house at that time. Even ordinary men took part in the business. They saw how much money the upper class made in the commodity and thought it was an easy way of getting lots of money with no risk. The bulbs were usually sold by weight while they were still in the ground. This trade in un-sprouted flowers came to be called wind trade
The traders made huge amounts of money every month. People started selling their businesses, family homes, farm animals, furnishing and dowries to participate. The government could not do anything to stop Tulipmania; the trade was all about access and demand. Finally, the tulip did not appear to quite so rare as to justify such high prices. Over-supply led to lower prices and dealers went bankrupt while many people lost their savings because of the trade. This Tulip Crash made the government introduce special trading restrictions on the flower. It is said that the tulip became so popular because of its bright colours, dramatic flames and frilly petals. To have tulips in one's home was a way to impress and, when the wealth spread down the social ladder, so did the urge for tulips.
In the 20th century it was discovered that the frilly petals and dramatic flames that gave the flower its stunning look were, in fact, the symptoms of an infection by the mosaic virus. The healthy flower was supposed to be solid, smooth and monotone. The virus came to the tulip from a louse living on peaches and potatoes. Diseased varieties of tulips are no longer sold. What you find today are hybrids that look similar but are genetically stable.