By TammyWhite
4 years ago

Lovely Tulips

Tulips (Tulipa) form a genus of spring-blooming perennial herbaceous bulbiferousgeophytes (having bulbs as storage organs). The flowers are usually large, showy and brightly coloured, generally red yellow or white. They often have a different coloured blotch at the base of the tepals (petals), internally. because of a degree of variability within the populations, and a long history of cultivation, classification has been complex and controversial. The tulip is a member of the Liliaceae (lily) family, along with 14 other genera, where it is most closely related to Amana, Erythronium and Gagea in the tribe Lilieae. There are about 75 species, and these are divided between four subgenera. The name "tulip" is thought to be derived from a Persian word for turban, which it may have been thought to resemble. Tulips originally were found in a band stretching east from Turkey to Central Asia, but since the seventeenth century have become widely naturalised and cultivated (see map). In their natural state they are adapted to mountainous areas with temperate climates. Flowering in the spring, they become dormant in the summer once the flowers and leaves die back, emerging above ground as a shoot from the underground bulb in early spring.

In seventeenth century Netherlands, during the time of the Dutch Golden Age and Tulip mania, an infection of tulip bulbs by the tulip breaking virus created variegated patterns in the tulip flowers that were much admired and valued. This phenomenon was referred to as "broken". While tulips had probably been cultivated in Asia from the tenth century, they did not come to the attention of the west till the sixteenth century, when western diplomats to the Ottoman court observed and reported on them. They were rapidly introduced into Europe and cultivated and became a frenzied commodity during Tulip mania. Tulips were frequently depicted in paintings of the Dutch Golden Age, and have become associated with the Netherlands, the major producer for world markets, ever since.

Breeding programs have produced thousands of hybrid and cultivars in addition to the original species (known in horticulture as botanical tulips). They are popular throughout the world, both as ornamental garden plants and as cut flowers.

Tulipa (tulips) is a genus of spring-blooming perennial herbaceous bulbiferous geophytes, dying back after flowering to an underground storage bulb. Depending on the species, tulip plants can be between 4 inches (10 cm) and 28 inches (71 cm) high.

Flowers: The tulip's flowers are usually large and are actinomorphic (radially symmetric) and hermaphrodite (contain both male (androecium) and female (gynoecium) characteristics), generally erect, or more rarely pendulous, and are arranged more usually as a single terminal flower, or when pluriflor as two to three (e.g. Tulipa turkestanica), but up to four, flowers on the end of a floriferous stem (scape), which is single arising from amongst the basal leaf rosette. In structure, the flower is generally cup or star shaped. As with other members of Liliaceae the perianth is undifferentiated (perigonium) and biseriate (two whorled), formed from six free (i.e. apotepalous) caducous tepals arranged into two separate whorls of three parts (trimerous) each. The two whorls represent three petals and three sepals, but are termed tepals because they are nearly identical. The tepals are usually petaloid (petal like), being brightly coloured, but each whorl may be different, or have different coloured blotches at their bases, forming darker colouration on the interior surface. Tulip flowers come in a wide variety of colours, except pure blue (several tulips with "blue" in the name have a faint violet hue), and have absent nectaries.

Tulips are mainly distributed along a band corresponding to Latitude 40o north, fromAnkara in Turkey in the west, through the Levant (Syria, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon and Jordan). From there it extends eastwards through Jerevan, (Armenia) and Baku (Azerbaijan) and on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea through Turkmenistan,Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent (Uzbekistan), to the eastern end of the range in the Pamir-Alai and Tien-Shan mountains in Central Asia, which form the centre of diversity.
Further to the east, Tulipa is found in the western Himalayas, southern Siberia, inner Mongolia, and as far as the northwest of China. While authorities have stated that no tulips west of the Balkans are native, subsequent identification of Tulipa sylvestris subsp. australis as a native of the Iberian peninsula and adjacent North Africa shows that this may be a simplification. In addition to these regions in the west tulips have been identified in Greece, Cyprus and the Balkans. In the south, Iran marks its furthest extent, while the northern limit is the Ukraine.
Although tulips are also throughout most of the Mediterranean and Europe, these regions do not form part of the natural distribution. Tulips were brought to Europe by travelers and merchants from Anatolia and Central Asia for cultivation, from where they escaped and naturalised. For instance, less than a half of those species found in Turkey are actually native. These have been referred to as neo-tulipae.

Tulips are indigenous to mountainous areas with temperate climates, where they are a common element of steppe and winter-rain Mediterranean vegetation. They thrive in climates with long, cool springs and dry summers. Tulips are most commonly found in meadows, steppes and chaparral, but also introduced in fields, orchards, roadsides and abandoned gardens.

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