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.

Tulipa turkestanica
T, turkestanica

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.

27 Comments on “The Tulip From Turkestan”

  1. This is beautiful. I do love your smaller tulips, and this one’s leaves make it even more appealing. I certainly never have associated tulips with central Asia, etc. I love learning these little bits of history, as well as enjoying the flowers’ beauty.

  2. That’s a beauty! I have very few tulips here because of the rabbits. Others in the neighborhood, however, have more luck (more open spaces, more predators?). I’m not seeing any blooming in the neighborhood yet, but lots of foliage. With all the cool but not cold weather ahead, it’s likely we’ll have quite an extended, colorful show when the tulips begin to bloom. 🙂

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