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.