Tulipa orithyioides and T. pulchella (more dwarf tulips)

Antennaria@aol.com Antennaria@aol.com
Mon, 01 Mar 2004 19:53:50 PST
The two photos recently posted to the Pacific Bulb Society - Tulipa page are 
terrific.  I have comments on each.  The photos are located at:

The photo by Jane McGary of Tulipa orithyioides Vved. has me intrigued.  The 
plant looks akin to T. polypetala, with white flowers, yellow center, and 
backs of outer tepals an olive color suffused mauve-ish.  But the similarity ends 
there as surely the stiffly upright foliage and more starry flowers render a 
distinctive look apart from polychroma.  Based on an IPNI search, I come up 
with the spelling "orithyioides" for the species.  It's hard to tell from the 
photo, but I must ask; Jane, are the stems multiflowered?  If so, perhaps it's in 
the Biflores section similar to T. polychroma.  Also, are the flowers 
scented?  T. polychroma is heavenly perfumed.

Curious to learn what the epithet "orithyioides" indicates, the only thing I 
could find is a bit of greek mythology: "Orithia (or Oreithyia) was a daughter 
of the Amazon Queen Marpesia. When her mother was killed by Asian barbarians, 
her mother's position fell to her. She forged an alliance with Sagillus, King 
of Scythia, who sent his son with an army to help Orithia avenge her mother's 
death."  Is there a relation between this and the species name?

Dave Brastow posted a gorgeous photo of Tulipa pulchella var humilis... 
thanks Dave!  The naming of this species is contentious, most often seen the way 
Dave labeled it.  I think today it is recognized as T. pulchella (Fenzl at 
Regel) Baker.  But horticulturally, there are two distinct forms, one with blue to 
black centers, and another with yellow centers.  I believe these are analogous 
to Hoog & Dix's Tulipa humilis 'Violacea Black Base" and T. humilis "Violacea 
Yellow Base" respectively, but I'm just guessing.  Anyone care to attempt 
clarifying the naming of the tulips in the "humilis" alliance?

Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States 
antennaria@aol.com "New England" USDA Zone 5
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