Classifications of Tulipa hybrids

For the most part, we Americans have not the vaguest idea how to help tulips givetheir best. First, let us consider their many types. In 1996, the Royal General BulbGrowers Association of the Netherlands adopted a classification system for the differentspecies and cultivars of tulips. These are the most significant divisions when itcomes to tulips’ use as cut flowers:Single Early: Single-flowered cultivars, limited color range, short-stemmed, easilyforced, early flowering.Double Early: Double-flowered cultivars, short-stemmed, limited colors, easilyforced.Triumph: Single-flowered, stems of medium length, flower in midseason. Thesecultivars were originally created by crossing the Single Earlys with the SingleLates and therefore have a wider range of color than the Single Earlys.Single Late: One flower per stem, long-stemmed, late flowering. This group nowincludes those tulips in the superseded Darwin and Cottage groups. Wide rangeof colors.Darwin Hybrid: Single-flowered, long-stemmed, flower in midseason. Result ofcrosses of the old Darwin group and Tulipa fosteriana.Lily-flowered: Single flowers, one per stem, flowering in mid-to-late season, flowershave pointed, recurved petals. Stem length varies.Parrot: Single flowers with fringed, curled, and twisted petals. Mainly late flowering,with stems of variable length. Longest lasting of the cut tulips.Double Late: Also known as peony-flowered. Much more double than the DoubleEarlys and available in a wider range of colors. Late flowering and long-stemmed.Rembrandt: Cultivars with “broken” flower colors, striped or marked with brown,bronze, black, red, pink, or purple on a red, white, or yellow background.Breaking from a solid color is caused by a virus spread by aphids. Usually longstemmed.The broken color becomes genetically stable when the broken tulip isused in hybridization. Once a tulip bulb becomes infected, it will always producebroken flowers. In Holland, it is against the law for broken tulips to be sold.Outlaws, how sexy!Fringed: Single-flowered cultivars, petals finely fringed at the edges, late flowering,variable stem length, range of colors widening. In the best cultivars, the fringe isa different or lighter color than the body of the petal.Viridiflora: Single-flowered cultivars colored with some green on their petals evenwhen fully mature. Late flowering; stem length varies.Other species: This class consists of all other species and their cultivars. Theseare often cultivated in small quantities but deserve special attention due to theirunique characteristics. Many are excellent rock garden plants.

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