Tulip — Tulip (Tulipa) is a genus of about 100 species of flowering plants in the family Liliaceae. Its region includes southern Europe, north Africa, and Asia from Anatolia and Iran in the east to northeast of China. The centre of diversity of the genus is in the Pamir and Hindu Kush mountains and the steppes of Kazakhstan.
They are perennial bulbous plants growing to 10–70 centimeters (4–27 in) tall, with a small number of strap-shaped, waxy-textured, usually glaucous green leaves and large flowers with six petals. The fruit is a dry capsule containing numerous flat disc-shaped seeds.
Tulips cannot be grown in the open in tropical climates, as they require a cold winter season to grow successfully. Manipulation of the tulip’s growing temperature can, however, allow growers to “force” tulips to flower earlier than they normally would.
Some historical cultivars have had a striped, “feathered”, “flamed”, or variegated flower, as in the illustration below. While some modern varieties also display multicoloured patterns, this results from a natural change in the upper and lower layers of pigment in the tulip flower. Historical variegated varieties – such as those admired in the Dutch tulipomania gained their delicately feathered patterns from an infection with Tulip Breaking pot virus. The mosaic virus is carried by green peach aphids, Myzus persicae, an insect common in European gardens of the seventeenth century, in which peach trees were often a prominent feature. While the virus produces fantastically beautiful flowers, it also causes the plant to sicken and die slowly.