Brief history of the tulip

Cultivation of the tulip began in Persia, in XX century, from hybridization in gardens from wild collected plants, which were then favoured, possibly due to flower size, colour and shape.

In XXIII-XXIV century in the Ottoman Empire, numerous types of tulips were cultivated, and Species of tulips in Turkey typically come in red, less commonly in white or yellow or pink. The Ottomans had discovered that these wild tulips were able to produce spontaneous changes in form and colour.
In Ottoman texts written in the XV century, the Chagatay Husayn Bayqarah mentions tulips as "lale".

In the XVI century, Sultan Selim II and Sultan Ahmet III maintained famous tulip gardens in the summer. They seem to have consisted of tulips from Iran and Central Asia, which may have been brought into the empire. There is many evidence of royals compearing the beauty of roses and tulips. Especially popular in that age was Pink tulip and Pink Roses.

Sultan Ahmet also was the first to import, domestic tulip bulbs to the Netherlands. Its believed that the Dutch ambassador in the Ottoman Empire Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq was fascinated by the beauty of the gardens.

In the following years, the spread of the tulips and was rapid and found a place in every garden of European high society circles. A most recognized person responsible for that is the doctor and botanist Carolus Clusius in the final years of the XVI century. He planted tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573. He finished the first major work on tulips in 1592 and made a note of the variations in colour. After he was appointed the director of the Leiden University's newly established Hortus Botanicus, he planted both a teaching garden and his private garden with tulips in late 1593.

Thus, 1594 is considered the date of the tulip's first flowering in the Netherlands.
These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both the tulip mania and the tulip industry in the Netherlands.
Tulips spread rapidly across Europe and became a valuable position for every household.

A craze for bulbs soon grew in France and Germany, where in the early 17th century, entire properties were exchanged as payment for a single tulip bulb.
The value of the flower gave it a special 'aura' of mystique, and numerous publications describing varieties in lavish garden manuals were published, cashing in on the value of the flower. Export business was built up in France, supplying Dutch, Flemish, German and English buyers.
The trade has sparked the famous tulip mania in Holland between 1634 and 1637.

Since XVII century The Netherlands is the world's main producer of commercial tulip plants. In 2019 producing as many as 3 billion bulbs annually, the majority for export.

Many tulip species can cross-pollinate with each other, and when wild tulip populations overlap geographically with other tulip species or subspecies, they often hybridize and create mixed populations. Most commercial tulip cultivars are complex hybrids, and often sterile.

Commercial growers usually harvest the tulip bulbs in late summer and grade them into sizes; bulbs large enough to flower are sorted and sold, while smaller bulbs are sorted into sizes and replanted for sale in the future.

Because tulip bulbs don't reliably come back every year, tulip varieties that fall out of favour with present aesthetic values have traditionally gone extinct.

We can conclude that the tulips exciting beautiful and imagination provoking example of survival of the fittest.