Though almost synonymous with the Netherlands, Tulipa actually hail from the semi-arid hills of Central Asia. They migrated with travelers on the Silk Road to the Ottoman Empire. Perhaps this is why the English name for this flower comes from translations of “turban.” Tulips were revered by Islamic artists and poets as well as the Sultan. Their bulbs transferred hands from one royal court to another, gaining prestige and infamy during the “tulip mania” of 16th century Holland. Today, there is a dizzying variety of tulips available in every shape and texture: fringed petals, feathery “parrot” petals, ruffles upon ruffles of double petals, that come in nearly every shade but blue.
Bloom time: April-May
*Tulip petals are edible but may be an allergen for some. The toxicity of the bulb is not well understood, having at times caused illness in humans.