Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fancy Tulips

Last fall I wrote about the heirloom tulips I was planting, Tulipa acuminata and Tulipa 'Elegans Rubra'. The latter, of which I got only one pricey bulb, unfortunately did not make it. For whatever reason, the bulb rotted away, even though it was planted in fairly sandy soil in a raised bed. Had it lived, maybe it would have looked somewhat like this Ottoman beauty named 'Hüseynî':

An Ottoman 'Istanbul Tulip' named 'Hüseynî' from the Lale Mecmuası or "Tulip Album" of 1725

Luckily, the five Tulipa acuminata planted right next to 'Elegans Rubra' have come up just fine and are now just beginning to bloom. 

A flower of Tulipa acuminata

A view of the whole plant

Tulipa acuminata certainly seems to come closest in flower and leaf shape to the historic "Istanbul Tulips" and its coloring of pale yellow streaked in bright red is reminiscent of that of a number of recorded 18th-century Ottoman varieties.

A variety named 'İbrahim Bey Ali'

The variety 'Ali-Şan', meaning "of great splendor"

'Mir'ât', meaning "mirror"

'Muhayyiru'l-ukûl' or "reviver of minds"

Could Tulipa acuminata be one of these?

Image Source:

Baytop, Turhan. İstanbul lalesi. Ankara: Kültür Bakanlığı, 1992.


  1. Those are some funky tulips.

    1. Yes... And I am completely smitten with them. I wish I could plant dozens, if only they were not so pricey.

  2. I remember reading about how people would spend a fortune to get an unusual tulip. This looks a little like the kind of tulip they might have been talking about. I do love the species tulip. The only ones we can plant in Texas.

    1. Well, by contemporary standards these were really pricey. I am thinking of adding some more Tulipa acuminata and maybe some Tulipa clusiana this fall, though. Judging by neighboring gardens, even here species tulips seem to return and naturalize much more readily.

  3. Have you planted any Parrot Tulips they are quite the show stoppers.. I had them many moons ago I have since moved and just haven't gotten any more but they're middle of the line pricewise not bad at all and so worth it.. Im sure if you have a garden center they would carry them.

    1. I had a handful of the wonderful red-and-white parrot tulip 'Estella Rijnveld' during my teenage years at my parents' old place in Michigan. You are right - they would be a great addition for next spring as well!


Thanks for stopping by!