Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Plant of the Day: Tulipa Turkestanica March 16, 2010

Filed under: bulbs,flora,spring — greenwalks @ 8:25 pm
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Every year since I planted this unusual species tulip, Tulipa turkestanica, it comes up in the spring and I forget what it is and have to go look it up. This year, it was a neighbor’s inquiry that alerted me that it had even started blooming – a few clumps in the parking strip get extra sun this time of year and had started early.

The thin, strappy foliage and smallish, bell-like flowers always fool me – I think they’re going to be fritillaria or some other, forgotten, early-season bulb. I have a real soft spot for species tulips, and add more each year in no particular pattern or color scheme. Right now, I have white, soft red, purple, and yellow ones all showing themselves. On sunny days, they open their petals and drink in the light, just like me.

Here are the turkestanicas, happily blooming next to muscari, which was an accident but a nice one, I think.

Turkestan tulip

I doubt I will ever get to Turkestan to see them bloom in the wild, but that would be pretty cool. Have you ever traveled to a far-off place because you wanted to see a particular plant?

Tulipa turkestanica


15 Responses to “Plant of the Day: Tulipa Turkestanica”

  1. Bernie Says:

    It’s a beauty … rather unusual! I’ve never seen a tulip like it before.

  2. gardeningasylum Says:

    Love these little ones – the pointy petals are so sharp looking!

  3. fairegarden Says:

    What a fabulous shot, Karen! They make a nice combo with the muscari too. How funny that you forget what they are every year. We love all the species too. They are so small, their placement is key to even get noticed, path edges for us, Greenwalks for you. 🙂

  4. Jane Says:

    Sweet little tulips! Of course almost any color and flower looks good this time of year, but it’s so nice to see the more obscure (and less hybridized) varieties like these.

    I have never travelled specifically to see a particular plant or flower, but for many years, I kept a dried sprig of pink heather that I picked off a Scottish moor. That somehow seemed like the perfect place to see it!

  5. Catherine Says:

    It’s such a pretty one! I think I remember you sharing species tulips last Spring and me thinking I needed to add some. Now I really know I need to find them. It would be fun to be able to travel to see a flower like this blooming in it’s native place one day.

  6. Amanda Says:

    Reminds me slightly of a hellebore gone wild! Great shot!

  7. jean Says:

    Glad to hear you are opening your petals. I think I have gone backwards this month and am feeling grouchy. Too much lion not enough lamb.

  8. easygardener Says:

    I have them in the garden too. You are quite right about the foliage and buds being deceptive – I am always surprised when they open and I realise what they are. They are lovely flowers.

  9. Kim Says:

    I’m with you, I love the species tulips and the other “lesser” tulips. None of those flashy hybrids for me! Your yellow tulip is lovely – I think I need some of those. 🙂

  10. jen Says:

    Every year I vow to buy some species tulips and never do…why???! They’re really a nice change from the usual spring flowers. Do they fade after a couple of years the way most tulips do or do they naturalize?

  11. banner6 Says:

    My species tulips look better this year than last…between that and this post, I guess I will not give up on them after all

  12. Grace Says:

    Karen~~ Only if it’s to a NURSERY and I can acquire the plant. LOL Isn’t it funny how Muscari stealthily plant themselves everywhere? They’re such cute plants and smell good too. Looks like you’ve got a bunch of California poppy seedlings too. I love it.

  13. Those are very beautiful tulips. My sister in law grows those in her gardens and they come out great.

  14. Georgia Says:

    Check out Holly Chase’s botanical tours!

  15. Jordan Says:

    I have these tulips. You can see them along with a few other flowers that bloom in March at:

    By the way, I traveled to South Africa last July to see Protea in bloom. You can see the flowers I saw there at:

    It seems kind of silly now, since we can’t even grow those things here. But I really, really wanted to the the fynbos. Jordan

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