Tulip (Pers. Thulyban; Written Tulipan By The Old Authors And Latinized As Tulipa), a 'genus of plants of the lily family, of which numerous cultivated forms are derived from several distinct species, all natives of the old world. They have a coated bulb, from which appears in spring a one- to three-leaved stem, terminated by a single, erect, large, showy flower; the six parts of the flower are separate, broad, and not spreading; six stamens with erect anthers, and a triangular ovary, with sessile stigmas, which ripens into a similarly shaped, three-celled, and many-seeded pod. The garden, florists', show, or late tulips, as they are variously called, are from tulipa Gesneriana, the species being named in honor of Gesner, who described the plant in 1559 from specimens raised from seed sent from the Levant; the stems are taller than in any other species (about 30 in.), with the divisions of the flower very obtuse, and in the wild state marked with yellow and violet. The cultivation of this plant rapidly spread in the Netherlands, and almost innumerable varieties were obtained from seed; that country is still the centre of the culture of this and many other bulbs, and supplies the rest of the world.

About the middle of the 17th century the tulip became the object of a remarkable commercial excitement or mania, and the bulbs were bought and sold at such enormous prices (the equivalent of $6,000 was paid for a single bulb) that the government was forced to limit the price for any one bulb to 200 francs; these extraordinary sales were not always real, with a transfer of the bulb, but they served to speculate upon, like stocks in the exchange. So great has been the change in popular taste that at present, in this country at least, it is very rare to see a bed of choice named varieties of show tulips. The fanciers make several classes, the principal of which are: bybloemens, in which the flowers have a white ground broken with various shades of purple and other colors; bizarres, with a yellow ground, variegated with other colors; Baguets, with the flowers white at base and broken with rich brown; incomparable Verports, with cherry or rose ground, white bottoms, and marked with shining brown. Breeders are bulbs raised from seed which are at first selfs, or all of one color, without any variegation whatever; by continuous cultivation they finally "break," or become variegated, the time varying from one to 20 years, and even at the end of the longer period the result may be worthless.

These late tulips bloom in the northern states about the last of May, but there is a set of varieties which bloom three weeks earlier. These are from T. suaveolens of southern Europe, with stems less than a foot high, and acute petals; one of the most valued of these is "Due Van Thol," usually red bordered with yellow, and presenting several subvarieties. There is a long list of named early sorts, from pure white to dark violet, with innumerable variegations; there are also double varieties of these, which are not pleasing singly, but planted in clumps make brilliant masses of color. The parrot tulips are varieties or crosses of T. Turcica, from Turkey; they are of dwarf habit, the petals curved and fantastically fringed, and colored with yellow, red, and a large admixture of green; the form and coloring readily suggest the popular name. A few species, little if any changed by cultivation, are sometimes seen in gardens; among these are T. cornuta, with singularly attenuated petals, T. oculis soils, vermilion, with a deep violet (called black) eye, and others.

The bulbs are imported each autumn in large quantities from Holland. A perfect and mature bulb contains a well developed bud, which the next spring will rapidly push up and produce leaves and flower; it also contains, between the scales, another bud, which during the brief growing season, while the first named is blooming, will increase rapidly, replacing that, and be ready to bloom the next year; besides these, the bud of a third generation may be found, ready in time to take the place of the second bud. When a tulip bulb is planted, it produces its flower and leaves; its foliage, after flourishing for a while, suddenly dies off, and a bulb may be dug up apparently like the one planted; but that has been expended in producing the flower, and this bulb is due to the increase of the second or replacing bud, which will be found to contain the rudiments of next spring's bloom. At the base of the bulb appear small offsets or bulblets, which, if broken off and cultivated for several years, will grow to a flowering size, and reproduce the peculiar variety; in Holland the number of these bulblets is increased by cutting off the flower buds as soon as they appear. - In careful tulip culture, the bed is made very light and rich, and the bulbs are set in October, 8 in. apart and 3½- in. deep; some take pains to envelop each bulb in sand; the bed is covered with litter, and left until spring, when it is uncovered; as the flowers are about to open, the bed is covered with an awning of cotton cloth, to prevent the sun from injuring the flowers, and thus prolong their duration; when the bloom is over, the seed vessels are cut off, and the plants cultivated until the leaves fade, which they will do in a few weeks, when the bulbs are taken up, dried, and kept in a cool, dry place until time to plant again.

Early sorts are often left in the ground year after year; and though they do not give so fine a bloom as when the bulbs are lifted, they make acceptable spring flowers. Like other bulbs, tulips are readily forced in the greenhouse or in window culture (see Hyacinth); the early sorts are preferred for this, and three bulbs may be put into a six-inch pot.

Early Tulip, Due Van Thol.

Early Tulip, Due Van Thol.

Parrot Tulip.

Parrot Tulip.

Late or Show Tulip.

Late or Show Tulip.