The Tulip From Turkestan
After Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Early Harvest’, the first Tulip to bloom in our garden is T. turkestanica. T. turkestanica is a wild or Species Tulip, whose native range covers rocky hillsides and river valleys extending from Iran through Central Asia and into China’s Uighur region – the origin land of many Tulips. T. kaufmanniana also started as a wild Tulip from Central Asia but for some reason is generally not classified as a Species Tulip.
T. turkestanica has white flowers with orange-yellow centers. The flowers are star-shaped with 6 points, smaller than those of hybrid Tulips. The flowers will open only in sunny weather. The leaves are also interesting: long, wavy, and grey-green.
A couple of notable advantages of this Tulip: it is relatively long-lived and rabbits tend to leave it alone. Under the right conditions (a sunny spot and well-drained soil), it may naturalize. My neighbor Lynn, who lives a couple blocks away, unexpectedly found one in her garden. We could only credit some enterprising but forgetful squirrel.
This Tulip only comes as itself, there are no cultivars and it cannot be crossed with hybrid Tulips.
All in all, it’s a quiet Tulip that still possesses considerable charm. Many more bulbs and spring flowers to come in future posts.