Tulip Facts: A tulip is a flowering plant. Tulip flowers are perennial, bulbous plants in the lily family. Tulips are a herbaceous herb with flamboyant flowers. There are around 75 wild tulip species.
Origin of Tulips
The origin of tulips is Eurasian and North African.
Tulipa gesneriana L.
Tulip Facts in Gardening
Tulip facts: Tulip flowers in gardening are very important. There are a number of tulip species and many hybrid tulip cultivars that are grown in gardens or as potted plants. Tulips are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs.
When Tulips Bloom
Tulip Facts: When tulips bloom depends on the species. Tulip plants can grow between 4 inches (10 cm) and 28 inches (71 cm) high. The tulip’s large flowers usually bloom on scapes with leaves in a rosette at ground level and a single flowering stalk arising from amongst the leaves.
Tulip Stems Have Few Leaves
Tulip stems have few leaves. Larger species tend to have multiple leaves. Plants typically have two to six leaves, some species up to 12. The tulip’s leaf is strap-shaped, with a waxy coating, and the leaves are alternately arranged on the stem; these fleshy blades are often bluish green in color.
Most Tulips Produce Only One Flower Per Stem
Most tulips produce only one flower per stem, but a few species bear multiple flowers on their scapes.
The 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 on the interior surface near the bases with darker colorings. The tip of a tulip is called the stamen. The flowers have six distinct, basifixed stamens with filaments shorter than the tepals. Each stigma has three distinct lobes, and the ovaries are superior, with three chambers.
Tulip Flowers Come in a Wide Variety of Colors
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 Tulip’s Seed
The tulip’s seed is a capsule with a leathery covering and an ellipsoid to globe 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 propagation can occur through bulb offsets, seeds, or micropropagation.
Offsets and tissue culture methods are means of asexual propagation for producing genetic clones of the parent plant, which maintains cultivar genetic integrity. Offsets require a year or more of growth before plants are large enough to flower.
Seeds are most often used to propagate species and subspecies or to create new hybrids. Many tulip species can cross-pollinate with each other, and when wild tulip populations overlap geographically with other tulip species or subspecies, they often hybridize and create mixed populations. Most commercial tulip cultivars are complex hybrids, and often sterile.
Tulips grown from seeds often need five to eight years before plants are of flowering size. Commercial growers usually harvest the tulip bulbs in late summer and grade them into sizes; bulbs large enough to flower are sorted and sold, while smaller bulbs are sorted into sizes and replanted for sale in the future.
Tulip Growing Habitat
Tulips are indigenous to mountainous areas with temperate climates and need a period of cool dormancy, known as vernalization. They thrive in climates with long, cool springs and dry summers. Tulip bulbs imported to warm-winter areas are often planted in autumn to be treated as annuals.
The Netherlands are the world’s main producer of commercial tulip plants, producing as many as 3 billion bulbs annually, the majority for export.