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(tulip), a genus of perennial herbaceous plants of the family Liliaceae. The tunicate bulb is ovate or, less commonly, elongate-oval or rounded-oval. The cylindrical and erect stem is 6–50 cm in height and bears two to six leaves. It ends in a single brightly colored flower (rarely in several flowers) that opens in sunny daylight and closes at night or in overcast weather. The fruit is a trihedral capsule, with flat brownish yellow seeds. Fertilization is by cross-pollination. Tulips propagate by seeds; in culture they are raised from seeds or from daughter bulbs, which form in the axils of the scales of the maternal bulb.
There are about 140 tulip species, growing mainly in Southern Europe, Asia Minor, and East and Southwest Asia. The USSR has 83 species: most are found in Middle Asia, but a few occur in the Caucasus, in Siberia, and in the southern and central regions of the European USSR.
The more than 4,000 cultivated varieties are descended from wild tulips and are united in the species T. gesneriaana. Each variety is distinguished by its flower’s shape (flask-shaped, cup-shaped, oval, spherical, lily-like, peony-like, parrot-shaped) and coloration (all shades of red to near black, orange, yellow, violet, white, variegated). There are fragrant and scentless varieties. The flowering period is up to 15 days for early varieties and 25 to 30 days for late varieties.
Tulip varieties are divided into the following groups on the basis of the time of flowering, the height of the stem, and the shape of the flower: single early tulips (Mon Trésor, Ibis), late double tulips (Van der Heoff, Murillo), Mendel tulips (Her Grace, White Sail), triumph tulips (Aviator, Alghiba), cottage tulips (Kleurenpracht, Orange King), Darwin tulips (Gladstone, Bretagne), breeder tulips (Don Pedro), and Darwin hybrids (Bolshoi Theater, Parade, Artist). The best varieties for forcing are Apricot, Beauta, Dick’s Favorite, Olga, Aureola, and Virtuosa.
Tulips, including some wild species, are used in spring flower beds and borders, for cuttings, and for forcing in the winter. They were first cultivated in the 16th century in Turkey. At the beginning of the 17th century tulips were imported into the Netherlands, where the breeding and selection of tulips took on an industrial scale. Tulips have been known in Russia since 1702, but bulbs have been grown only since the late 19th century. In recent years tulip cultivation has been concentrated in the Netherlands (the principal exporter of bulbs), Great Britain, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the German Democratic Republic. In the USSR tulip culture has been developed as a measure to beautify cities and settlements. Commercial tulip culture is concentrated in the Northern Caucasus, the Crimea, Middle Asia, the Baltic region, and the Moscow region.
Tulips prefer sandy-loam soils rich in humus. The bulbs are set out in open ground in the fall (September-November); flowering occurs in May and June. In late June or early July the bulbs are dug up, dried in the shade, and stored in a cool place until they are set out in the autumn.
REFERENCESKiselev, G. E. Tsvetovodstvo, 3rd ed. 1964.
Danilevskaia, O. N. Tiul’pany, 2nded. Leningrad, 1969.
Spravochnik tsvetovoda. Moscow, 1971.
I. P. IGNATEVA