Old Tulips :: By Category
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In horticulture, tulips now are divided into fifteen groups (Divisions) mostly based on flower morphology and plant size

Single Early tulip Cottage Maid.

Div. 1: Single Early tulips have rounded petals forming small deep cup-shaped single flowers generally no larger than 8 cm (3in) across, which sometimes open flat in full sun. They flower in mid spring. They grow to 15-60cm (6-24in) high Their stems are thick so they can handle wind and rain. They are excellent used as bedding plants. Some varieties can be forced indoors. Caption - Left: Cottage Maid, 1857, Single Early. Photo by Mary Ellen Wall (2011) (Click image for larger version.)


Double Early Tulip Peach Blossom - photo by Mary Ellen Wall.

Div. 2: Double Early tulips have large, fully double, bowl-shaped flowers (to 12-13 cm [5in] across) -- resembling peonies. They flower in mid spring and are long lasting. They grow to 25-40cm (10-16in) high. They are good for mass bedding layouts or containers. They prefer a sheltered site. Caption - Left: Peach Blossom, 1890, Double Early. Photo by Mary Ellen Wall (2011) (Click image for larger version.)


Triumph tulip Couleur Cardinal, photo by Mary Ellen Wall (2011)

Div. 3: Triumph tulips sometimes are referred to as Mid-Season tulips in bulb catalogs. They have large, single cup-shaped flowers. They flower in mid to late spring and are long lasting. They grow to 35-60cm (14-24in) high. They can handle wind and rain so can be used as bedding plants in exposed sites. Caption - Left: Couleur Cardinal, 1845, Triumph tulip, which has been infected with the Tulip Breaking Virus, becoming a "broken" tulip -- See Division 9: Rembrandt Tulips (below). Photo by Mary Ellen Wall (2011) (Click image for larger version.)


Darwin Hybrid tulip Lafebers Favoriat, 1942 - photo from the TulipGallery.com.

Div. 4: Darwin Hybrid tulips have large brilliantly colored single flowers that are ovoid in shape, resembling a pyramid when fully closed. Open, they have a “squarish” appearance and can measure up to 20cm (8in) in diameter when fully opened. They grow to 50-70cm (20-28in) high on strong stems. They flower in late spring. Their colorful flowers make them ideal for the main focal point of a display. This group should not be confused with older Darwin tulips, which belong in the Single Late division below. Caption - Left: Lefebers_Favorite, 1942 Darwin Hybrid. . Photo from TulipGallery.com. (Click image for larger version.)


Philippe de Comines Tulip, 1891, formerly classified as a Darwin tulip, now classified as a Single Late.

Div. 5: Single Late tulips sometimes are referred to as May-flowering or Late-flowering tulips. They have goblet-shaped, squared-off, oval or egg-shaped flowers up to 8cm (3 in) across. They flower in late spring. They grow to 45-80cm (22-32in) high. These generally are used in bedding or border layouts. This division now includes the old Darwin tulips and Breeder tulips. Caption - Left: Philippe de Comines, 1891, formerly a Darwin tulip now classified as a Single Late. Photo by Mary Ellen Wall (2010) (Click image for larger version.)


Lily-flowered tulip White Triumphator, 1942.

Div. 6: Lily-flowered tulips have long single flowers with pointed petals, often curving out at the tips. They flower in late spring. They grow to 50-65cm (20-26in) high. Caption - Left: White Triumphator, 1942. Lily-flowered tulip. (Click image for larger version.)




A recent fringed tulip, Siesta, 2000.

Div. 7: Fringed (Crispa) tulips have flowers similar to those of the Single Late division but with fringed petals. They flower in late spring. They grow to 55-80cm (22-32in) high. Caption - Left: Siesta, 2000. This is a recent example of a fringed tulip. At present, we have no photos of the few surviving fringed tulips that pre-date 1960. This is a place-holder photo, courtesy of TulipGallery.com. (Click image for larger version.)



Viridiflora tulip example, Green Valley, 2002.

Div. 8: Viridiflora tulips also are known as Green tulips. These are similar to the Single Late tulips but the petals are partly green. The flowers appear in late spring. They grow to 23-60cm (9-24in) high. Caption - Left: Green Valley, 2002. This is a recent example of a Viridiflora tulip. At present, we have no photos of the few surviving Viridiflora tulips that pre-date 1960. This is a place-holder photo, courtesy of TulipGallery.com. (Click image for larger version.)



Silver Standard Tulip (RdV) 2009

Div. 9: Rembrandt tulips have been bred to produce flowers that resemble the historically “broken” tulip, which derived its magnificent coloration from a benign Tulip Breaking Virus (TBV). These true-broken tulips are not raised or sold commercially today. However, in some sources the few surviving true-broken tulips are listed along with the contemporary “imposters”. The surviving true-broken tulips are emphasized on this website. Most are Single Late tulips, but a few are Single Early. Please see: Broken Tulips. Caption - Left: Silver Stardard, 1760, Single Early broken tulip. Photo by Rimmer de Vries (2011) (Click image for larger version.)

Markgraaf van Baden Tulip, 1750 - a broken Parrot tulip - photo by Mary Ellen Wall (2011).

Div. 10: Parrot tulips have large, often bi-colored, flowers with frilled and/or twisted petals. They flower in mid and late spring. They grow to 50-65cm (20-26in) high. Their stems often are too weak to support the large unsheltered flowers -- so staking sometimes is necessary. Caption - Left: Markgraaf van Baden, 1750. Parrot Tulip. Photo by Mary Ellen Wall (2011). (Click image for larger version.)



Double Late tulip Double Beauty of Apeldoorn, date unknown.

Div. 11: Double Late tulips sometimes are called Peony-flowered tulips, They have large showy flowers, resembling peonies. They flower in late spring. The plants grow to 40-60cm) (16-24in) high. They often have weak stems which will not sjpport the large flowers in wind and rain. Caption - Left: Double Beauty of Apeldoorn, date unknown. Double Late tulip. Image courtesy of TulipGallery.com. (Click image for larger version.)



Kaufmaniana tulip Whisper, 1955.

Div. 12: Kaufmanniana tulips also are known as Water Lily tulips. They have long, often bicolored, flowers. They flower in early spring. They grow to 10-25cm (4-10in) high, These tulips are ideal for rock gardens, containers, or along the edges of borders. Caption - Left: Whisper, 1955. Kaufmaniana tulip. Image courtesy of TulipGallery.com. (Click image for larger version.)



Fosteriana tulip Ouverture, 1952.

Div. 13: Fosteriana (Emperor) tulips have large, long flowers. They flower in mid spring. They grow to 20-40cm (8-16in) high. Their brilliant eye-catching colors make them good for focal planting. gardens, containers, or along the edges of borders. Caption - Left: Ouverture, 1952. Fosteriana tulip. Image courtesy of TulipGallery.com. (Click image for larger version.)



Greigii tulip Echo, 1952.

Div. 14: Greigii tulips have lovely colorful flowers with maroon or purple-brown veined or spotted foliage. They flower in early to mid spring. They grow to 23-50cm (9-20in) high. As most are short, they look best in rockeries and containers. gardens, containers, or along the edges of borders. Caption - Left: Echo, 1952, Greigii tulip. Image courtesy of TulipGallery.com. (Click image for larger version.)



Species tulip Turkestanica, 1875 - photo by Mary Ellen Wall (2011).

Div. 15: Species (Botanical) tulips are "wild" tulips or tulips that do not fit the criteria for any of the above divisions. The flowers of Species tulips tend to be smaller and more delicate in form than the garden tulips – flowers frequently no larger than 3.8cm (1.5 inches) across when fully open, although some (e.g., eichleri) are much larger. They range from 7.5-45cm (3-18in) in height. Different cultivars flower at various times of the spring and early summer, but most flower early. Caption - Left: Tulipia turkestanica Regal, 1875, Species tulip. Photo by Mary Ellen Wall (2011) (Click image for larger version.)


Species tulip Biflora, 1776 - with two flowers per stem. Photo by mary Ellen Wall (2011)

Div. 16: Multiflowering tulips is not an official division, but the category is added to some lists to include tulips with multiple blooms per stem. Otherwise, those tulips are listed in the above 15 divisions, most spedcifically in division 15 - Species Tulips. Caption - Left: Tulipa biflora, 1776. a multi-flowering Species Tulip. Photo by Mary Ellen Wall (2011) (Click image for larger version.)



Tulips also may be classified by their flowering season:

Other Historical Categories

Hortus Bulborum, in its book Hortus Bulborum: Ireasury of Historical Bulbs, adds several additional historical categories to those listed above.

In the menu at left, please note that we have incorporated all these classification arrangements and varients, creating a structure that defines tulips first by flowering season, there-under by formal Division, and there-under by subcategories that were added by Hortus Bulborum.

 

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