The Tulip flower has a fascinating history. Originally the Tulip flower was a wild flower growing across the Middle East and Central Asia. Its cultivation was started over a thousand years ago in Persia and Turkey. Many cultivated varieties were widely grown there. The Tulip flower was considered a luxury and was very popular among court society.
In the 16th century the Tulip flowers were introduced into Europe from Turkey by Carolus Clusius, a famous biologist from Vienna. He became Professor of Botany at the University of Leiden and planted tulips in his garden there. Tulip flowers were soon widely distributed throughout Holland. They quickly became the favorites of garden hobbyists. The demand for Tulip flowers exceeded the supply and prices began to rise. In the Dutch Golden Age Tulips became very costly. Some Tulip bulbs were being sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. Tulip flowers became a symbol of power and prestige, only the very wealthy could afford them. Fortunes were made and lost on tulip bulbs. Tulip flowers became so popular that they resulted in phenomena called “tulipomania”. The mania reached its highest amounts between 1634 to 1637. At the end over-supply led to lower prices and the tulip market crashed.
Nowdays the Tulip flower is cultivated almost all over the world but most associated with Holland where it is grown in great numbers and in huge fields. Holland is considered to be the Tulip capital of the world. The soils and stable climate of the Netherlands are ideal for cultivating tulip flowers. Each year the Netherlands produces three billion tulip bulbs, two billion of which are exported. The term “Dutch tulips” is often used for the cultivated forms. The Tulip flower became the national emblem of Holland. And the world’s largest permanent display of Tulip flowers are also in the Netherlands, in Keukenhof.
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