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Tulip

bulbs, varieties, tulips, usually, time, produced, garden, flowers and species

' TULIP, a genus of bulbous herbs of the family Li!laced.. The species, of which about 100 have been described and 40 introduced into cultivation, are natives of temperate Asia, and some have become naturalized in the Mediter ranean region of Europe. They are character ized by tunicated bulbs, linear or broad radical leaves from the base of which rises the scape three inches to two feet or more tall and bearing at its summit usually a solitary bell shaped flower, sometimes two, three or even four. These flowers are large, brilliant and showy, single or double, generally erect but sometimes nodding. Their colors are red, yel low, white and variegated in a great variety of tints and markings.

For more than three centuries the tulip has been popular in European gardens and prior to this period it was cultivated by the Turks for many centuries. In 1753 Linnaeus grouped the garden tulips under the botanical name Tulips gesneriana, which has since been errone ously cited as that of the original species. Another form (T. suoveolens) was named in 1797. It was well known in southern Europe prior to this date, but seems to have been an escape and was formerly distinguished from other tulips then cultivated by its earlier bloom, larger size, pubescent scape and fragrant flow ers. Hence the conclusion that the earlier gar den varieties are probably derived from the latter species and the later ones probably from the former.

Interest in the tulip began in Vienna in 1554, when Busbequis, an Ambassador to Turkey, procured seeds from a garden near Constantinople. From that time forward the popularity of the plant increased rapidly. In 1591 specimens of Clusius' varieties stimu lated interest in the plant in Holland, where the production of new varieties increased rapidly until it became a craze in 1634. From that date until 1637 the wildest speculation pre vailed. Not only were enormous prices paid for individual bulbs, 13,000 florins (about $5,200) for a bulb of the variety Semper Au gustus, but ownership was divided into shares, and many of the schemes known to the stock and bond market were in vogue, often without the existence of any bulbs at all. The govern ment had at last to interfere but this was not until many families had been impoverished or even ruined financially. Since that time the popularity of the plant declined, but later reached the normal basis upon which it now rests, with its headquarters in Holland and Belgium. During the closing decade of the 19th century experimenters in the State of Washington have produced superior tulip and other bulbs, and will probably supply the Ameri can market.

The garden tulips are divided into four principal groups: selfs, in which the flowers are of only one color; roses, in which the petals show varying shades of red, scarlet and pink; bizarres, in which the petals have yellow bases or centres and are bordered more or less widely with orange, red, etc.; and ty

blcemens, dark-colored flowers — purple, ma roon, brown, black, etc. In these various classes about 2,000 varieties ate listed by the European bulb growers, and they are further divided into singles and doubles, au4 except the selfs are segregated into feathered and flamed, according as the colors are inter mingled in narrow or broad stripes.

One of the most remarkable phenomena about tulips grown from seed is that after the plants began to produce blossoms for one or several years they obreakp; that is, the colors and markings of the flowers change radically. A single-flowered self may become a double flowered bizarre or rose, perhaps even showing no traces of the original tint. Owing to the length of time required to produce flowering bulbs from seed—three to seven years— this method of is rarely practised ex cept by originators of new varieties and by growers who supply small bulbs to fanciers and others. Named varieties are all propagated asexually, generally by offset bulbs which are usually produced freely. These do not °break° unless the progeny is obtained prior to the °breaking° of the parent bulb.

Tulip will grow in almost any garden soil, but will thrive best in well-drained friable loam of moderate texture and richness. The bulbs should be planted in mid-autumn four inches below the surface. During the winter, in the North they may be mulched with litter, ever green boughs, etc., to keep the frost in the soil and prevent alternate freezing and thawing. In spring when the weather has become some what settled the mulch should be removed and the surface smoothed with a rake. After blos soming the leaves should be allowed to turn yellow before the plants are dug, if they are to be dug, in order to allow them to elaborate food for the next season's bloom. If desired they may be left in the ground for two or three years. When taken up they should be cleaned, the offsets removed, dried in the shade and stored in a cool dry place until planting time. For house and greenhouse use, the bulbs may be planted in flats or pots as soon as received from the seedmen, kept in a dark place until the roots are well produced and the tops be gin to show; then they may be taken to a temperate room and gradually inured 'to both light and heat. After they have produced their blossoms they are usually thrown away because a fresh supply can be obtained so cheaply that the care usually required to °bring them around° again is considered wasted. However, they are sometimes planted in odd corners of gardens where some specimens will usually recover from the effects of the forcing. Consult Bailey, (Standard Cyclopedia of Horti culture' (New York 1916) ; Solms-Laubach, (Weizen und Tulpe und deren (Leipzig 1899).