Tulips are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs. Depending on the species, tulip plants can grow as short as 4 inches (10 cm) or as high as 28 inches (71 cm). The tulip's large flowers usually bloom on scapes or subscaposestems that lack bracts. Most tulips produce only one flower per stem, but a few species bear multiple flowers on their scapes (e.g. Tulipa turkestanica). The showy, generally cup- or star-shaped tulip flower has three petals and three sepals, which are often termed tepals because they are nearly identical. These six tepals are often marked near the bases with darker colorings. Tulip flowers come in a wide variety of colors, except pure blue (several tulips with "blue" in the name have a faint violet hue).
The flowers have six distinct, basifixed stamens with filaments shorter than the tepals. Each stigma of the flower has three distinct lobes, and the ovaries are superior, with three chambers. The tulip's fruit is a capsule with a leathery covering and an ellipsoid to subglobose shape. Each capsule contains numerous flat, disc-shaped seeds in two rows per chamber. These light to dark brown seeds have very thin seed coats and endosperm that does not normally fill the entire seed.
Tulip stems have few leaves, with larger species tending to have multiple leaves. Plants typically have 2 to 6 leaves, with some species having up to 12. The tulip's leaf is strap-shaped, with a waxy coating, and leaves are alternately arranged on the stem. These fleshy blades are often bluish green in color.
Origin of the name
Although tulips are often associated with The Netherlands, 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 arid 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 Persian dulband("turban").
It is believed the first tulips in the United States were grown near Spring Pond at the Fay Estate in Lynn and Salem, Massachusetts. From 1847 to 1865, a historic land owner named Richard Sullivan Fay, Esq., one of Lynn's wealthiest men, would settle on 500 acres (2.0 km) located partly in present-day Lynn and partly in present-day Salem. While there, Mr. Fay imported many different trees and plants from all parts of the world and planted them among the meadows of the Fay Estate.
The tulip and the butterfly Appear in gayer coats than I: Let me be dressed fine as I will, Flies, worms, and flowers exceed me still.
~ Isaac Watts ~
Tossing turban style contours, with an aloofness as one passes by, Utilizing every charm it possesses, under a lupin blue cloudless sky, Like a guardsman, gallantly standing, holding up his noble head high, In rainbow colours, brilliant and stately, a vision to surely yield a sigh, Ponder thus upon the regal tulip, it has pure beauty, you cannot deny.
The Tulip ~ by Ernestine Northover
Any man that walks the mead In bud, or blade, or bloom, may find A meaning suited to his mind.
~ Alfred Tennyson ~
Rainbow of Colors
Being able to look out of your window and see tulips is one of the most breath-taking experiences. I fell in love with tulips at the age of three...
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