When I think of spring, tulips come to mind. They are colorful, attractive, and last long as fresh cut flowers. Did you know Tulips were first cultivated in the Ottoman Empire, or Turkey as we know it today?
Tulips were introduced in Europe (Holland) around the 16th century. They became extremely popular and the demand for this flower increased, while the supply decreased. Prices for individual bulbs began to rise in northern Europe and a Tulip Mania manifested. By the 17th century, a single tulip bulb could sell for several thousands of dollars. In essence, bulbs were so valuable that they were used as money or even a dowry for a bride.
Oddly enough, a virus known as mosaic, caused the tulips to become even pricier. It was not a deadly plague, but instead altered tulips producing rare “flame” coloration on the petals. Everyone began to speculate in the tulip market, some even trading their land and savings to invest in the tulip craze.
The Bulb Crash
Eventually, the tulip craze began to decline in 1637. Everyone wanted to sell their tulip bulbs to reap the profits. As a result, the demand and value of tulip bulbs decreased sharply. A panic swept the market, and investors were at a loss. Contract agreements were void, people were left homeless, and a great depression swept Holland.
Today, tulip season is quite a celebration especially in Holland. In the U.S., an annual Tulip Festival takes place in Holland, Michigan, the growing center of the nation, and where Dutch roots are strong.
Suggest varieties for Flower Fact Friday! Leave a comment below, and include the name of the flower you would like to learn about.