Parrot Tulips – A Magnificent Mutation

I remember as a child I loved Parrot Tulips.  I loved everything about them.

I loved their color, their name, their shape and even their leaves.

I spent hours trying to capture their uniqueness in drawings, I read everything I could about this flamboyant blossom.

Most surprising to me was that it’s creation was due to a virus. 

Thank you to the virus and thank you to horticulturists who took those first Rembrandt tulips and turned them into what they are today!

Now the plot thickens. An insect that usually infested Dutch peaches and potatoes found a new home in the tulip bulb. It carried the mosaic virus, which infected and began to affect the tulips but did not kill the bulbs for some time. While the tulips lived, the virus caused their blooms to mutate producing brilliant flames of color and ragged broken petal shapes. These new tulip forms were sometimes called Bizarres and Bybloemens, and eventually came to be known as Rembrandt tulips. It must have been amazing to Dutch growers to watch the process take place. They had no understand of the virus that was at work on their gardens, and the continual changes taking place in the new flowers must have been magical and fascinating.



10 thoughts on “Parrot Tulips – A Magnificent Mutation

  1. Your parrot tulips are gorgeous! I also remember from my childhood the ever-changing beauty of those tulips. Also remember my mother getting angry every spring they start to bloom in different colors and shapes then the year before . . .

  2. Love them! I will putting them on my wish list. I am particularly drawn to the red and white. Red is my favorite color….I think I must have been a hummingbird in a previous life.

  3. Thanks for posting Bonnie. I am already thinking which bulbs to put on my list for autumn, and one of these will definitely have to be added! 😉 All the photos are stunning – the second to last is absolutely gorgeous!

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