Showy and colorful when in bloom, there are over 150 species of tulips and 3000 different varieties. This member of the lily family has a perfectly symmetrical flower, comes out in almost any color, and is one of the most recognized flower types in the world. It is an all-time favorite!
The history of the tulip
Native to an area stretching across Southern Europe and into Central Asia, tulips prefer a temperate climate. The Persians were the first to start cultivating tulips around the 10th century inspiring Persian poets. In the 16th century, the beautiful flowers were discovered by Western diplomats to the Ottoman Empire. As they were introduced to Europe a frenzy of tulip mania ensued, inspiring many Dutch artists of that time, Rembrandt included, and ensuring its association with the Netherlands, still the major producer today.
The fragrant varieties
Not many people know that tulips are fragrant but there are varieties that are worth growing for their sweet aroma. The refined spicy smelling tulips include the Tulipa turkestanica, Tulipa tarda, Tulipa urumiensis, Tulipa whittallii, ‘Prinses Irene’ and ‘Yokohama’; while the ‘Monte Carlo” has a sweet, honey scent.
How the tulip got its name
In Turkish tulips are called “lale”, using the same letters as Allah and the flower became a holy symbol. The tulip was used as a motif to decorate many of the mosques, tiles, fabrics, and crockery at the time. The tulip became a symbol of abundance and indulgence during the heyday of the Ottoman Empire, resulting in the term ‘Tulip Era’. At that time tulips were the most expensive flower, costing ten times more than the average person’s salary in the Netherlands.
It seems that in the West, the name tulip was derived from the Persian word for turban, either because they resembled turbans or because the Persians wore them in their turbans.
Tulip festivals around the world pay tribute to these adaptable flowers that man continues to genetically reinvent according to the aesthetic values of the times. We have seen marbleized swirls of contrasting colors, feathered and flamed petals and the brightest single colors imaginable. The most difficult tulip color to achieve was the black one.
In his historical romance ‘The Black Tulip’, Alexander Dumas places events in the Dutch town of Haarlem and a reward is offered to the first person to grow a black tulip. In realty the first black tulip was bred in 1986 by a Dutch grower. He cross-bred two purple tulips to get is right; the Queen of the Night and the Wienerwald.
Tulip Mania is the room fragrance by Singapore Memories that honors the tulip; the colors and beauty of the blooms that have inspired artists, poets, authors and people around the world for centuries. Tulip Mania makes a special corporate gift or souvenir from Singapore.