When you think of tulip flowers, you may picture expansive flower fields located in the Netherlands. Yet, few know that the origin of the tulip isn’t actually the Netherlands but first from the Himalaya area and then from Turkey. The Turkish tulip was first a wildflower that emerged as early as 1000 AD and has a long history before becoming the beloved flower that it is now. Keep reading for more on how it grew (no pun intended!) to be what it is today.
The Turkish tulip was first a wildflower that emerged as early as 1000 AD and has a long history before becoming the beloved flower that it is now. Keep reading for more on how it grew (no pun intended!) to be what it is today.
It all started in Turkey
Unbeknownst to many, the tulip didn’t start in Europe. Rather, the flower has a lengthy history in Turkey after it was brought from the Himalayas. During the Ottoman Empire, the tulips were used to appease the Sultan who thoughts the blooms were especially beautiful. The flower remained popular until the “Tulip Era” where the flowers couldn’t be sold outside of Turkey because it was illegal. However, that clearly didn’t stop them from coming to Holland (present-day the Netherlands).
The Dutch Golden Age and the start of Tulip Mania
Tulips are generally known to have been imported to Holland (now the Netherlands) in the 16th century. A botanist named Carolus Clusius is the person who is thought to have brought them west, and he wrote a book about the flower that brought them to popularity. The flowers caused that initial surge, and Clusius then had tulips stolen from his garden on a regular basis. Tulip Mania had commenced. Although an economic tulip bulb had hit the market, they were purchased until the demand became so high that the market for them crashed.
To keep the market interesting, botanists began to create hybrids of tulips. The ability to purchase these hybrids and mutations also designated high status for those individuals who were willing to invest in them. While the bulbs that cost more than houses are no longer available, there’s still a wide variety of genetically stable tulips that were derived from this experimentation. Today, there are 150 species of tulips and over 3,000 varieties.
The modern tulip
Modern-day tulips are incredibly popular and the second most popular flower to send on Valentine’s Day after roses. They’re also available in a wide range of colours. For inexperienced gardeners, they’re widely considered one of the easiest flowers to grow. Plant tulip bulbs in autumn before the ground freezes and you’ll start to see your tulips pop up in the springtime without much work on your part. Tulips are simple and beautiful no matter the time of year!
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