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The tulip is a perennial, bulbous plant with showy flowers in the genus Tulipa, of which up to 109 species have been described and which belongs to the family Liliaceae.The genus's native range extends from as far west as Southern Europe, Israel, North Africa, Anatolia, and Iran to the Northwest of China. The tulip's centre of diversity is in the Pamir, Hindu Kush, and Tien Shan mountains. A number of species and many hybrid cultivars are grown in gardens, as potted plants, or to display as fresh-cut flowers. Most cultivars of tulip are derived from Tulipa gesneriana.
Tulips are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs. Depending on the species, tulip plants can grow as short as 4 inches or as high as 28 inches. The tulip's large flowers usually bloom on scapes or subscapose stems 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 on the interior surface near the bases with darker colorings. Tulip flowers come in a wide variety of colors, except pure blue.
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.
Although tulips are often associated with the Netherlands, commercial cultivation of the flower began in the Ottoman Empire. Tulips, or lale as they are also called in Iran and Turkey, comprise many species that together are indigenous to a vast area encompassing parts of Asia, Europe and north Africa. 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 t("muslin" or "gauze"), and is ultimately derived from Persian دلبند dulband ("turban").
In Persia, to give a red tulip was to declare your love. The black center of the red tulip was said to represent the lover's heart, burned to a coal by love's passion. To give a yellow tulip was to declare your love hopelessly and utterly.
"Underneath rich dark loam, life waits for spring's kiss yearning to emerge to rise tall and open it's splendor. Yellow as sunshine, white as dove, the fruits of your seasons labor dazzle the senses and infuse pleasure into your waiting mind. Tulips, wonderess, joyful, fulfilling tulips. Nature's gift unwrappped once a year." The poem "Tulips" by Vincent Armone.
April 6th, 2011
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