The tulip is a perennial, bulbous plant with showy flowers in the
genus Tulipa, of which ca 75 wild species are currently accepted and
which belongs to the family Liliaceae.The genus's native range extends
west to the Iberian Peninsula, through North Africa to Greece, the
Balkans, Turkey, throughout the Levant (Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan)
and Iran, North to the Ukraine, southern Siberia and Mongolia, and east
to the Northwest of China.
Depending on the species, tulip plants can grow as short as 4
inches (10 cm) or as high as 28 inches (71 cm). The tulip's large flowers
usually bloom on scapes or subscapose[ stems that lack bracts. Most
tulips produce only one flower per stem, but a few species bear multiple
flowers on their scapes (e.g. Tulipa turkestanica).
The showy, generally cup or star-shaped tulip flower has three
petals and three sepals, which are often termed tepals because they are
nearly identical. These six tepals are often marked on the interior surface
near the bases with darker colorings. Tulip flowers come in a wide
variety of colors, except pure blue (several tulips with "blue" in the name
have a faint violet hue).[
At the base of the blossom are
almond-shaped mini-leaves that
can be green or splashed with the
color of the blossom. These are
sepals, which protect the flower
when it is a bud.
Inside the flower is a small,
stemlike piece, the pistol,
from which pollen travels.
At the base of this part is a
bulbous shape, or ovary,
where pollen is produced.
The very top part of the
pistol is called the stigma,
which traps the pollen until
it is ready to be released.
Inside the flower are
also "stems" called
stamen. The bulbous top
part of the stamen is
called the anther. This is
the part of the flower to
which bees are
attracted. Pollen is