[Linnaeus classed this among barbarous names. In Persian it is called thouly-ban, whence undoubtedly its origin. In old French it is called tulipan.
The Garden Tulip, has been called the King of florist's flowers, having been a prime object of attention with this class of cultivators, for nearly three centuries. Its popularity has, for many years, been on its wane. It appears to have been brought from Persia by the way of Constantinople, in 1559, and in a century afterwards to have become an object of considerable trade in the Netherlands. The taste for Tulip in England was at its greatest height about the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century. It afterwards declined, and gave way to a taste for rare plants from foreign countries.
*' Then comes the Tulip race, where beauty plays Her idle freaks; from family diffused To family, as flies the father dust, The varied colors run; and while they break On the charmed eye, th' exulting florist marks With secret pride the wonders of his hand."
These flowers became, in the middle of the seventeenth century, the object of a trade for which there is no parallel, and their price rose beyond that of the precious metals. Many authors have given an account of this trade, some of whom have misrepresented it. One called it the Tulipomania; at which people laugh, because they believe that the beauty and rarity of the flowers induced florists to give such extravagant prices. But this Tulip trade was a mere gambling commerce, and the Tulips themselves were only nominally its object, many bargains being daily made, and the roots neither given nor received. In Holland and Belgium the passion for Tulips among the florists became an absolute madness. Many thousand francs have often been given for a single root, and the commerce of this article in 1637, rose to some millions of francs. At the period of this effervescence, properties of considerable value were given for a single flower, and a memorable monument of this outrageous folly is still exhibited at Lille, in the Tulip Brewery, which, it is said, though valued at 30,000 francs, ($6000,) was given by its proprietor for a single root. At last the Tulip mania became so overpowing that the government of Holland, convinced of the evil effects which might result from it, were obliged to interfere, and to pass laws of great severity against such transactions, limiting the extent of the amount for any one bulb to 200 francs. To this day, a few of the choice and rare varieties are priced at that sum in the Dutch catalogues. During this Tulip fever, a merchant in Holland gave a herring to a sailor who had brought him some goods. The sailor, seeing some valuable Tulip roots lying about, which he considered of little consequence, thinking them to be onions, took some of them unperceived, and ate them with his herring. Through this mistake, the sailor's breakfast cost the merchant a greater sum than if he had treated the Prince of Orange.
Another anecdote is told of an Englishman, who, being in a Dutchman's garden, pulled a couple of Tulips, on which he wished to make some botanical observations, and put them in his pocket; but he was apprehended as a thief, and obliged to pay a considerable sum before he could obtain his liberty. A bed of two hundred and fifty Tulips, of the finest varieties, at the present time, cannot be obtained without a considerable outlay; and there are few, who have the means or the fancy, who are willing to be at the expense.
Tulips are divided into two classes, early and late bloomers; and these are, again, subdivided into other classes.
Early Tulips commence their blooming about the first of May, in company with the Hyacinth, and some of the varieties are very desirable. They are dwarf in their habits. The many distinguished varieties of early Tulip are all produced from the late bloomers, which, having tall stems, and much finer colors, engross nearly the whole attention of the cultivators of Tulips. The modern mode of classing the late varieties by the Dutch florists, is as follows:-
"Prime Baguets, from the French word baguette, a rod, or wand. They are very tall, with handsome cups and white bottoms, well broken with fine brown, and all from the same breeder.
This variety is supposed to have received its distinctive appellation from some individual by the name of Rigaut, who was eminent in this branch of floriculture. They are not quite so tall as the former, but have strong stems, and very large, well formed cups, with white bottoms, handsomely broken with rich brown color, and all from the same breeder.
A particular kind of Bybloe-mens. Cups very perfect, cherry-red and rose color, and white bottoms well broken with shining brown. Some of these are from $10 to $25 a root.
Bybloemens, or nest flowers, called by the French Fla-mands. They have white ground, or nearly so, and are beautifully broken with shades of purple and a variety of colors. They are from different breeders.
Bizarres, from the French, odd, or irregular. Ground yellow; from, different breeders, and broken with a variety of colors.
The edges of the petals are fringed, colors, brilliant crimson and yellow, with shades of bright green; but still they are held in no sort of esteem among florists."
These are of various brilliant red, yellow, and mixed colors, but, like many other double flowers, are deemed monsters, and not appreciated by flower fanciers, although they have an elegant appearance, from their upright, tall, and firm stems, and crowns of large, peony-shaped flowers; and, when scattered with the Parrot Tulips among the small shrubs and other plants, in the borders of avenues and walks, or planted out in separate beds, they have a pleasing effect.
Breeders are such as have been procured from the seed, and consist of one color, which is red, purple, violet, gray, brown, black, yellow, or some other individual color, without any sort of variation. These acre cultivated in a rather poor and dry soil, and become broken or variegated, in from one to twenty years, and produce new varieties; but so uncertain is the prospect of a favorable result, that but few persons are willing to make the experiment, by raising Tulips from seed, as probably not one in a thousand, after so many years of patient cultivation, would exhibit anything remarkable or new. For this reason, a new and superb Tulip commands a high price at the present time in Europe.
When a Tulip has broken, the colors are unchangeable, when properly managed, and it is perpetuated by offsets from the parent bulb. Tulips become deteriorated by improper culture, by feeding them too highly with stimulating manures. This causes the colors to run together, and the flower becomes what the' florist denominates "foul," and they can only he restored to their former beauty by planting in a pure loamy soil for a few years.