Tulips are flowers that bloom in spring from bulbs.
Tulips are monocots and produce one large, bell-shaped bloom at the end of each stem.
There are about 100 species of wild tulip, growing right across Asia to China.
Tulips come in most colors but blue. Reds and yellows are common, but they vary from white to deep purple.
There are over 4000 garden varieties.
Most tulips are ‘late bloomers’ with names like breeders, cottages and parrots.
Mid-season bloomers include tulips such as Mendels and Darwins.
The word tulip comes from the Turkish for ‘turban’, because of their shape.
Food is stored in the tulip bulb so that, as winter approaches, the bulb remains alive underground while the rest of the plant dies.
Tulips were introduced to Europe in 1551 by the Viennese ambassador to Turkey, Augier de Busbecq. But Holland became the center of tulip-growing early in the 1600s, when Europe was gripped by tulip mania. At this time, people would exchange mansions for a single tulip bulb. Holland is still the center of tulip-growing.
Huge numbers of tulips are now grown in the fields in Holland. Tulip cultivation is still an important industry there, with Dutch growers producing nearly 2000 varieties.