Now largely associated with the Netherlands, Holland produces over 3 billion tulip bulbs each year. Tulips are the 3rd biggest selling flower in Holland and very popular in the UK as well.
Tulips are the only flower that continues to grow in the vase after being cut. They can continue to grow up to another 3 inches. They also conform to the shape of the container, straight up if in a tall container, twisting to fit into a flat or irregular shaped vase.
In 16th century the Sultan of Persia displayed his affection with tulips, by presenting a crimson tulip to his beloved as a symbol of the burning flame of his love. The first red tulips were tinged black at the base of each petal which is said to show that the sultan's heart was charred to black coal. Due to this overt suggestion of sexual attraction, the Victorians hardly used tulips as an expression of love.
The ancient Turks used to brew a love potion from tulips and many cultures consider tulips to be the symbol of perfect love.
In the early 1700s, A Turk by the name of Sultan Ahmed III was the first to begin importing bulbs from Holland. But it proved a fatal attraction. When Sultan Ahmed was brought to trial, his crimes included "having spent too much money on the traditional annual tulip festivals". The sentence: He was beheaded.
In Japan, certain flour is made from tulips.
In times of famine the Dutch have eaten tulip bulbs when no other food was available.. tulip bulb soup, tulip bulb stew, fried tulips, etc.
There are many people in the world today who still eat tulip bulbs of certain varieties.
In the 20th century it was discovered that the frilly petals and dramatic flames that gave the flower its stunning look were, in fact, the symptoms of an infection by the mosaic virus, from a louse living on peaches and potatoes. The healthy flower was supposed to be solid, smooth and monotone. Diseased varieties of tulips are no longer sold. Today they are genetically stable hybrids that look similar.
Tulips are so popular that several festivals are
held in their honor every year. Holland has a Tulip Festival that draws hundreds
of thousands of people every year lasting for several days.
In the United States, Michigan also holds a huge Tulip Festival in May. They mimic the festival in the real Holland with vendors, food, activities for the family.
Tulips were long considered a trademark of famous painter David Hockney, which appear in many of his autobiographical paintings, which are displayed in his studio in Los Angeles.
Something to consider when buying a bouquet of
tulips for a member of the opposite sex:
The American Floral Marketing Council conducted a survey in 2002 on preference of tulip color by men and women.
In order of preference, men purchased red, yellow, pale pink, hot pink, white, and purple tulips.
Women liked pale pink, pale purple, hot pink, peach, red, and yellow..