One other interesting bit of history, which occurred in the early 1600s, was "tulip mania." This sprang from the tendency of tulips to be infected with a virus, resulting in odd yet often attractive colored streaking in the flowers. These variants, called "broken" tulips, became prized, sought widely, and worth many guilders (money). This led to widespread trading, speculation, and then as most such fads sudden market collapse in 1637. These lovely tulips have remained to this day, however, depicted in the art of the Dutch masters. For this reason, similar ones today with such streaking of various colors yet without any virus are called “Rembrandt” tulips.
Friday, July 12, 2013
The first tulips were long-stemmed, red-flowered cultivars. They were illustrated by the German naturalist Konrad Gesner in 1559, and have since borne his name in the species gesneriana. See Origins of the Dutch Bulb Industry. Quoting from that article: