Tulip Types and Varieties
Did you know tulips are edible? As members of the lily family, they're also related to onions, which may explain the first part. Although I rarely hear anyone promote tulips for a meal, they do make for a lovely addition to any dish assuming no chemicals have been applied to them as they were growing.
One other interesting thing about tulips. If you have them planted in a bulb garden, watch the flowers follow the sun by literally moving in the dish. They will also do that as cut flowers in a flower vase.
According to the National Garden Bureau, tulips say “spring” like no other flowers. Their "vivid, paint-box colors are a feast for winter-weary eyes" and I couldn't agree more. Who doesn't think of spring when they see tulips in bloom??
These members of the lily family typically grow a single stem and flower from teardrop-shaped bulbs that are planted in fall for spring flowers. Tulip bulbs require a dormancy period with cool, winter-like temperatures for several weeks. During this time, the bulbs sprout roots and the embryonic leaves and flowers inside the bulb begin to develop.
Tulips are native to southern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and Asia. Works of art depicting their distinctive shape date back to the 10th century. They have been cultivated in earnest for at least 400 years including generating the short-lived "tulipmania" in the 1600s where collectors were spending literally fortunes to possess one tulip bulb.
By leveraging the tulip’s natural tendency toward diversity, generations of breeders and tulip collectors have produced a mind-boggling array of flower forms, heights, colors and bloom times. Today, Holland produces most of the world’s annual tulip crop, which exceeds 4 billion bulbs annually.
Basic Tulip Types and Varieties
There are more than 150 species of tulips with over 3,000 different varieties and are classified into Divisions by type. The tulip names include links to a variety of suppliers so you can see the actual tulip varieties.
Division 8: Viridiflora. Streaks of green give these tulips a distinctive look. Most cultivars bloom mid to late spring. Long-lasting cut flowers. 20” tall. Groenland, Spring Green, Flaming Spring Green, Artist
Division 9: Rembrandt. Petals display exotic markings and color breaks and resemble the tulips in 17th-century paintings. 20-24” tall. Rembrandt Mix
Division 11: Double Late. Plush, peony-like flowers are long-lasting in the garden or in a vase. Many cultivars are fragrant. 15-22” tall. I planted several Angelique this fall because those are supposed to be very fragrant. Angelique, Carnaval De Nice, Upstar, Yellow Pomponette
As members of the lily family, tulips are also relatives to onions.