Brief History of Tulips

Feast your eyes on these exquisite flowers with a storied past by learning the history of tulips.

| Fall 2014

  • 'Acuminata' Tulip
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Angelique' Tulip
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Apricot Parrot' Tulip
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Black Parrot' Tulips
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Blue Parrot' Tulip
    Photo courtesy
  • Assorted Tulips
    Photo courtesy
  • Assorted bouquet of tulips
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Purple Prince' Tulip
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Estella Rijnveld' Tulips
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Florentine' Tulip
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Insulinde' Tulip
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Lilac Perfection' Tulip
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Monte Carlo' Tulip
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Princess Irene' Tulips
    Photo courtesy
  • 'Sun Parrot' Tulip
    Photo courtesy

Spectacular, brilliantly colored tulips are among the showiest and most varied of all the spring-blooming perennial plants. Happily they are also some of the easiest ornamentals to grow!

And in addition to their usefulness to todays busy weekend gardeners, tulips are steeped in history and rich in both lore and tradition.

(see Slideshow above for more tulips varieties)

Origins of the tulip

“Tulip” is a strange-sounding name of Middle Eastern origin. Tulips were unknown in the ancient Mediterranean; therefore there is no Greek or Latin name for them. Instead, “tulip” is a corruption of a Turkish word, tülbend, meaning “gauze” or “muslin”—which in turn is derived from the Persian word delbend, meaning “turban.”

It is believed that the application of the word "turban" to the flower is either the result of the latter's resemblance in shape and brilliance to the flamboyant turbans of the Ottoman court. Another more likely story says that because the Turks frequently wore cut tulip flowers in their turbans, early translators were simply confused between the words for the flower versus the word for the garment! In reality, the Turks, like the Persians before them, called tulips “lale” or “laleh.”



October 19-20, 2019
Topeka, Kansas

Join us in the heart of the Midwest to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today

Heirloom GardenerCultivate your love of historic plant varieties and traditional recipes with a subscription to Heirloom Gardener magazine today!

Don’t miss a single issue of Heirloom Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Heirloom Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Subscribe today and save as much as 38% off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube

click me