Class 15: Other Botanical Tulips

This is a "catch-all" class for just about every other type of tulip. In particular, it includes wild tulips. Altogether there are about 150 different species of wild tulip, which grow in an area that runs roughly from Portugal to Central Asia. However, most of these are not cultivated for gardens.

This class includes species, variants, and hybrids derived from these wild tulips which are cultivated and sold commercially. To illustrate: a wild species of tulip might be called something like Tulipa batalini or Tulipa humilis. If someone has developed a cultivated variant, it might be named, for example, Tulipa batalinii Bright Gem or Tulipa humilis Persian Pearl.

Since the tulips in this class are wild, or close to wild, they typically naturalize extremely well (i.e. come back year after year and gradually multiply). As most tulips in this class are fairly short, they are absolutely ideal for rock gardens and containers. They also look wonderful when planted in large, one-colour flower beds ("drifts").

The following chart shows 10 of the several dozen wild species which are commercially available. Unless otherwise noted, all of the following species are hardy in zones 3 - 8, and should be planted at a depth of approximately 4 - 5" (10 - 12 cm) . A few species have a fragrance; I have indicated which ones by putting an asterisk (*) after the name.

Latin name Flowering time Height Shape/colour Notes Cultivated varieties
Tulipa bakeri late spring 5 - 8" (12 - 2 cm) large blossoms in shades of purple prefers zones 5 - 8 Lilac Wonder (lilac pink with yellow centre)
Tulipa batalini mid to late spring 2 - 5" (5 - 12 cm) wide pointed petals, narrow foliage none Bright Gem (butter yellow and orange), Red Gem (red)

Tulipa bakeri Lilac Wonder Tulipa batalini Bright Gem Tulipa batalini Bright Gem

Latin name Flowering time Height Shape/colour Notes Cultivated varieties
Tulipa clusiana mid spring 8 - 14" (20 - 36 cm) flowers in shades of yellow or red prefers zones 6 - 8, does well in dry soil; native to Uzbekistan Cynthia (yellow and orange), Lady (dark rose edged with white), Peppermint (red and white)
Tulipa chrysantha mid spring 8 - 14" (20 - 36 cm) when completely open forms a star correct name is Tulipa clusiana var. chrysantha Tubergen's Gem (red and yellow)

Tulipa clusiana Cynthia Tulipa clusiana Peppermint Tulipa chyrsantha

Latin name Flowering time Height Shape/colour Notes Cultivated varieties
Tulipa dasystemon early spring 4 - 6" (10 - 15 cm) 6 small, star-shaped, yellow flowers with white tips clustered closely together synonyms: Tulipa tarda, Tulipa tarda dasystemon none
Tulipa hageri mid to late spring 5 - 8" (12 - 20 cm) 3 - 5 flowers on a stem none Splendens (coppery red)

Tulipa dasystemon Tulipa hageri Splendens

Latin name Flowering time Height Shape/colour Notes Cultivated varieties
Tulipa humilis early spring 4 - 6" (10 - 15 cm) shades of red and purple; narrow leaves often have red edges; has several cultivated varieties synonym: Tulipa pulchella; one of lowest-growing tulips, hence name "humilis" Eastern Star (rose with yellow centre), Persian Pearl (magenta with central gold star), Violacea (purple mauve with yellow centre), Violacea Black Base (reddish purple with black centre)

Tulipa humilis Eastern Star Tulipa humilis Persian Pearl Tulipa humilis Violacea Black Base

Latin name Flowering time Height Shape/colour Notes Cultivated varieties
Tulipa linifolia late spring 4 - 6" (10 - 15 cm) low, almost fluorescent red flower, red-margined leaves none Red Gem (red), Yellow Jewel (yellow)
Tulipa sylvestris* mid spring 4 - 8" (10 - 20 cm) solid yellow flower synonym: Tulipa florentine odorata; prefers zones 5b - 8a none
Tulipa turkestanica very early spring 8 - 10" (20 - 25 cm) each stem has 12 creamy white flowers, with with yellow centres, blue-grey leaves none none

Tulipa sylvestris Tulipa linifolia Tulipa turkestanica


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Last modified: October 15, 2008