Common name: Tulip
Of all the bulbous plants, the tulip is without a doubt the most popular. Tulips are grown on an extremely large scale, especially in the Netherlands where their history goes back to the end of the sixteenth century. That was when the first tulips were noticed growing in the vicinity of Leiden. Now, more than 400 years later, billions of tulips are being cultivated, the vast majority of them being exported from Holland. This goes not only for dry bulb sales but also for the cut flowers produced from the tulip bulbs. These cut flowers, available year-round in principle, are most in demand from November to May. The 'garden tulips' are the result of hybridization in which the species Tulipa gesneriana played an important role. Now there are more than 3,000 cultivated varieties registered, more being added each year to replace older varieties.
In 1996, the Royal General Bulbgrowers Association of the Netherlands adopted the following classification system for the different species and cultivars of tulips:
Single early tulips:
Single-flowered cultivars, mainly short-stemmed and early-flowering.
Double early tulips:
Double-flowered cultivars, mainly short-stemmed and early-flowering.
Single-flowered cultivars, stem of medium height, flowering in mid-season. Originally the result of hybridization between cultivars of the Single early group and the Single late group.
Single late tulips:
Single-flowered cultivars, mainly long-stemmed and late-flowering. This group includes such tulips as those from the former Darwin and Cottage groups.
Darwin hybrid tulips:
Single-flowered cultivars, long-stemmed, flowering in mid-season. Originally the result of hybridization between cultivars of the Darwin group with Tulipa fosteriana, and the result of hybridization between other cultivars and botanical tulips have habits similar to that of the T. fosteriana, but which lack the other characteristics of the wild species.
Single-flowered cultivar, flowering mid-season or late, displaying flowers with pointed, curled-back petals. Stem length varies.
Single-flowered cultivars with fringed, curled and twisted petals. Mainly late-flowering. Stem of variable length. - Double late (Peony-flowered) tulips: Double-flowered cultivars which flower late. Mainly long-stemmed.
Cultivars with broken flower colors: striped or marked with brown, bronze, black, red, pink or purple, on a red, white or yellow background. Cause of markings is a virus infection. Long-stemmed. (Not commercially available; displayed only in historical collections).
Single-flowered cultivars, petals edged with crystalline fringes, flowering mid-season or late. Stem of variable length.
Kaufmanniana (botanical) tulips:
Tulipa kaufmanniana, has cultivars, subspecies, varieties and hybrids, all of which resemble T. kaufmanniana. Very early-flowering, sometimes displaying mottled foliage. This has a flower with a multicolored base that opens completely. Exterior usually has a bright carmine blush. Height up to 8 inches (20 cm.).
Fosteriana (botanical) tulips:
Tulipa fosteriana has cultivars, subspecies, varieties and hybrids, all of which resemble T. fosteriana. Early-flowering, very broad leaves which can be green or gray-green, sometimes mottled or striped. Stem medium to long. Large elongated flower, base variable.
Greigii (botanical) tulips:
Tulipa greigii includes its cultivars, subspecies, varieties and hybrids, all of which resemble T. greigii. Usually mottled or striped foliage, flowering later than those in the Kaufmanniana group. Leaves usually spread out and bend down toward the ground. Flower shape variable.