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.
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.
It is beautiful, so dainty. I much prefer the smaller tulips so must try it next year. I have looked it up and here it will flower the same time as iris reticulata, which is Jan/Feb time!
So dainty and elegant. It makes the fancy-pants hybrids look like they are trying too hard.
What an attractive tulip. I would like to be in a similar position to your neighbor, Lynn, and have an enterprising squirrel bring one of those from your garden and bury it in mine. And then, naturalize!
A charming tulip, especially as I am naturally drawn to the wilder, quieter ones (though have planted some loud ones too – everything in its place!).
Yes, I can’t resist some of the hybrid tulips with big red or orange blooms.
Charming is the perfect word for this tulip. It also looks sprites to me.
Interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this one. Apparently the rabbits don’t like it.
That is a really interesting looking tulip.
My favourite tulip by far , and Thankyou for the history , I never quite get this far … I just tend to admire them . My new favourite tulip this year is Tulip Light and dreamy – well worth planting, If available in the U.S
Could be – but I don’t think I’ve seen them.
I definitely like the part about how rabbits don’t like it. I think it should be called The Fried-Egg Tulip.
Yes I think ”a quiet tulip with considerable charm” is a very good way of describing this tulip. The last photo in particular shows it as understated and quite lovely. I hope the rabbits don’t do too much damage.
So far they leave it alone.
If rabbits will leave them alone, I wonder if mice and voles will leave them alone? I have had containers of tulips robbed by voles. I have a few areas where this one might work well.
My guess is that the wild species has toxins that discourage rabbits – and may have the same effect on other rodents.
I’ve never seen this tulip but I like it. Could your neighbour’s flower come from a rare seeding event? Amelia
That’s a beautiful tulip. It seems to produce lots of flowers. Squirrels around here are not so thoughtful as to plant bulbs for me but I did last week pull out an oak tree from the garden. Have a great week.
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. 🙂
I so love to see all of your blooming bulbs and look forward to those yet to come.
It certainly doesn’t look like a traditional tulip, but a little star nonetheless. Especially since the rabbits don’t care for it.
It is a real beauty and how lovely to have spreading clumps of it like yours.
Oh, just loving it’s daintiness and delicate beauty.xxx
I knew you would catch us up really quickly! My Turkestanicas are also in flower now. 😃