Saturday, March 29, 2008
Tulip (Tulipa) is a genus of about 100 species of flowering plants in the family Liliaceae. Its species are native to southern Europe, north Africa, and Asia from Anatolia and Iran in the east to northeast of China and Japan. 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 centimetres (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.
Origin of the Name
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 potyvirus. 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. Today, it has been almost completely eradicated from growers' fields. The Black Tulip was the title of a historical romance by Alexandre Dumas, père (1850), in which the city of Haarlem has a reward outstanding for the first grower who can produce a truly black tulip. This fascination with growing a black tulip, a biologically impossible task, was historically accurate to the tulipomania in which the novel is set.
Tulips can be grown in either of two ways: through offsets or seed. Being genetic clones of the parent plant, offsets are the only way to enlarge the stock of a given tulip cultivar. By contrast, tulips do not come true from seed; the mixing of genes between parent tulips is very unpredictable. A tulip grown from seed will usually bear only a passing resemblance to the flower from which the seeds were taken. This makes for great potential in breeding new tulip flowers, and great variation in the wild. However, tulip growers must be patient: offsets often take at least a year to grow to sufficient size to flower, and a tulip grown from seed will not flower for anywhere between five and seven years after planting. "Broken" tulips (tulips affected by the mosaic virus) will occasionally revert to plain "breeder" colouring, but usually maintain their colourful, infected state when grown from offsets.
Tulip Era in the Ottoman Empire
Posted by qwertyuio at 11:43 AM