Tulip is a bulbous plant from the extensive lily family, it got its name from the Persian word “toliban”, which means “a turban”. The flower was named so because its inflorescence resembles this hat. Tulip originates from Central Asia and the Mediterranean. In the wild tulips grow in Russia, Belarus, the southern regions of Kazakhstan, as well as in Turkey, India and Iran.
The first written mentions of tulips date back to the XI century, and they gained the most popularity in the XVI – XVII centuries, especially in the Netherlands, where the bulbs of rare varieties of this flower were sold for fabulous amounts of money. The Netherlands is still one of the leaders in commercial cultivation of tulips along with the United Kingdom and Belgium.
An upright stem of a tulip can be of a very different length from 10 to 85 centimeters, depending on a variety. Firm large leaves, as though covered with a light waxy film, are in most cases green, but there are such varieties (Tulipa micheliana, T. kaufmanniana), whose leaves are covered with brownish-purple stripes, spots or streaks, that make it an even more decorative flower. There is usually only one inflorescence on the stem, but there are some varieties (e.g., T. turkestanica), which may have up to five inflorescences on one stem. The inflorescences come in different shapes: cup-shaped, double, lily-flowered (pointed petals are facing different directions), parrot ones (petals are twisted and have irregular ends). Petals can be up to 12 centimeters long, and the inflorescence diameter ranges from 3 to nearly 20 centimeters (when fully opened). Garden tulips vary in colors: most common are red, yellow, rarely pink, lilac, purple to almost black, orange, white or multicolored.
When buying tulips choose plants with blossoms in a state of a large bud or that have just started to open. Fully opened flower will not last for a long time, in this state it easily drops petals. Tulip is an ephemeroid, which means that it is very sensitive to temperature. At too high temperature (above 25 degrees Celsius) it will wither quickly, so it is important to store it in the refrigerator only. While trimming the stems (by about 1.5 centimeters) one should prevent the fragmentation of the lower part of the stem.