Tulipa Species Four

Tulipa species S through Z are found on this wiki page


Tulipa Hybrids - Tulipa A-C - Tulipa D-H - Tulipa I-R - Tulipa index


Tulipa saxatilis is distributed from the southern Aegean Islands to western Turkey. Flowers are pink to lilac-purple with a large yellow blotch. Tepals are cup shaped, but in sunshine open flat. There are now considered to be two subspecies.

Subspecies bakeri was once considered to be a species and is often still sold as Tulipa bakeri. It is native to Crete and grows at higher elevations than the other subspecies and is found on the high flat plains, on field margins and rocky slopes and screes. Flowers are a deeper pink than the other subspecies and the anthers are orange-yellow instead of brown. Photo below from Arnold Trachtenberg.

Tulipa saxatilis ssp. bakeri, Arnold Trachtenberg

The cultivar of this subspecies, 'Lilac Wonder', is a popular garden plant and easily grown. Photos 1-5 from Mary Sue Ittner of this cultivar taken five different years. This is an excellent plant for people living in areas without cold winters. Photo 6 was taken by Mark McDonough who gardens in northern Massachusetts, USA, USDA zone 5. He writes about it: Growing under the shade of dwarf Japanese maple, the lilac pink and yellow flower color shows up best with some shade. I find the foliage too wide, tall, and coarse compared to other dwarf tulip species. Bulbs were interplanted with T. tarda, my attempt at succession bulb planting, where this species takes over after T. tarda has finished blooming. Lovely, but the flower color seems washed out in sun.

Tulip saxatilis ssp bakeri 'Lilac Wonder', 2006, Mary Sue IttnerTulip saxatilis ssp bakeri 'Lilac Wonder', 2007, Mary Sue IttnerTulip saxatilis ssp bakeri 'Lilac Wonder', 2008, Mary Sue IttnerTulip saxatilis ssp bakeri 'Lilac Wonder', 2009, Mary Sue IttnerTulip saxatilis ssp bakeri 'Lilac Wonder', 2011, Mary Sue IttnerTulipa saxatilis ssp bakeri 'Lilac Wonder', Mark McDonough

Subspecies saxatilis grows in rocky places below 900 m (2950 ft.) and is often found on the sides of gorges. It is stoloniferous and in cultivation can produce more leaves than flowers. Wilford in Tulips: species and hybrids for the Gardener recommends growing it in a hot, sunny position in well drained soil and confining it between rocks to promote better flowering. It is considered to be hardy.


Tulipa sprengeri is a tulip with a more than usually interesting history in cultivation. A single bulb was found in a shipment to the Dutch bulb firm of Van Tubergen from their collector in Turkey, J. J. Manissaadjian before World War I. It has been traced to the region about Amasya, but has never again been found in the wild. Curiously, Tulipa sprengeri does very well in gardens, seeding about with freedom. So much freedom, in fact, that in the early 1950s, E B Anderson, who was then administering the first seed exchanges of the Alpine Garden Society, specifically asked that seed of Tulipa sprengeri not be donated. Nonetheless, when one looks through the standard references on species bulbs, Tulipa sprengeri is often noted as rare and/or expensive. It is very odd that a species that seeds so freely in gardens is evidently extremely rare in the wild.

This species is the last tulip to flower. Its flowers are a unique glowing red, rather small but on fairly long stems so its personality is a good one. If you grow it, beware: it will turn up in unexpected places unless you meticulously deadhead it and prevent seed from scattering. As with some other bulbs, Tulipa sprengeri digs itself down to quite a depth and can be difficult to remove from sites where it is not wanted. The first two photos in the link below is intended to give some idea of how this tulip looks in a garden setting, while the third is a closeup portrait. The first one does not adequately capture the unique glowing color, however. The others capture the true color fairly faithfully, thanks to turning down the saturation on my camera. Photos 1-3 by Rodger Whitlock. Photo 4 from Hans Joschko. Photo 5 of seed using transmitted light and photo 6 using reflected light by David Pilling.

Tulipa sprengeri, Rodger WhitlockTulipa sprengeri, Rodger WhitlockTulipa sprengeri, Rodger WhitlockTulipa sprengeri, Hans JoschkoTulipa sprengeri, transmitted light, David PillingTulipa sprengeri, reflected light, David Pilling

Tulipa sylvestris is a rather common presence in wheat fields, to the point where it has naturalized. The bulbs of this species grow particularly deep, over 50 cm and are able to survive the plowings of the fields without problems. Also it completes its growing cycle, from flowering to ripening seeds, before the wheat is harvested. As a result of the feeding, the plants often develope multiheads stalks, just similar to the modern Multiflora tulips. Curious to see, the plants were only in cultivated fields, while they weren't in adjacent intact lands. Photos 1-3 were taken in habitat in Apulia by Angelo Porcelli. Photo 4 from Hans Joschko. Photo 5 by Kathleen Sayce shows a back-lit batch of seeds, showing the embryo within.

Tulipa sylvestris, Angelo PorcelliTulipa sylvestris, Angelo PorcelliTulipa sylvestris, Angelo PorcelliTulipa sylvestris, Hans JoschkoTulipa sylvestris, Kathleen Sayce

Tulipa tarda, a species from central Asia, is a nice patch of bulbs in bloom. I've had this patch for many years. This one gets my vote for best, most long-lived tulip species for rock gardens. Photos by Mark McDonough show a close-up view of the yoke yellow flowers with white tips and in the second photo some larger larger leaves of T. bakeri 'Lilac Wonder' which are "succession interplanted" among the Tulipa tarda patch. Photo 3 of seed and seed pod on a 10 mm grid and photo 4 of shoots by David Pilling.

Tulipa tarda, Mark McDonoughTulipa tarda, Mark McDonoughTulipa tarda seed pod and seeds, David PillingTulipa tarda shoots, David Pilling

Video time lapse by David Pilling, taken on the 30th. April 2013 from 14:12 to 18:11 of flowers closing as shadow passes over garden. Narcissus 'Jet Fire' in the background.


Tulipa turkestanica as its name suggests is from Turkestan and northwest China. It has one to 12 starry white flowers per bulb. Photo one by Arnold Trachtenberg shows one growing in New Jersey. Photo 2 was taken by Janos Agoston. Photos 3-4 were taken by Mary Sue Ittner. The last shows the bulbs on a 1 cm grid.

Tulipa turkestanica, Arnold TrachtenbergTulipa turkestanica, Janos AgostonTulipa turkestanica, Mary Sue IttnerTulipa turkestanica bulbs, Mary Sue Ittner

Photos by David Victor of this species growing in the wild on the western Tien Shan mountains, Kazakstan, in June 2004. These shots were taken at the top of the Ulkun-Kyindi Pass at around 10,000 feet. The species comes in a pure yellow form or, more frequently, yellow with white tips to its petals. I have included photos of both. The final shot shows Tulipa turkestanica (above) growing alongside Tulipa kaufmanniana (below) in the same location. Normally, however, Tulipa turkestanica seems to prefer a cooler western exposure, compared to Tulipa kaufmanniana, which seems to prefer southern aspects.

Tulipa turkestanica, David VictorTulipa turkestanica, David VictorTulipa turkestanica, David VictorTulipa turkestanica and kaufmanniana, David Victor

Tulipa urumiensis a dwarf species from Iran and Turkey with narrow leaves and bright golden yellow flowers, grown in New Jersey, photo by Arnold Trachtenberg.

Tulipa urumiensis, Arnold Trachtenberg

Tulipa vvedenskyi has prostrate wavy edged leaves and bright orange red flowers and is from Soviet Central Asia. There is a hybrid of this species pictured on our Tulipa Hybrids page. The first two photos by Bob Rutemoeller. The next two photos by Mark McDonough. The foliage, stem height, and flower color can vary quite a bit in this species. The form shown here is very short compared to other forms I have seen grown by gardeners in my area. One of the hallmarks of this species is the wonderful undulate foliage.

Tulipa vvedenskyi, Bob RutemoellerTulipa vvedenskyi, Bob RutemoellerTulipa vvedenskyi, Mark McDonoughTulipa vvedenskyi, Mark McDonough

Tulipa whittallii is a tetraploid clone of the Tulipa orphanidea group which was found near Izmir, in western Turkey. In fact, it resembles the tulip known as Tulipa hageri more than it does T. orphanidea, although Tulipa hageri itself is often considered to be a form of T. orphanidea. Photographed by Jim McKenney in his USDA zone 7 Maryland garden, where it has persisted for several decades and spread by stolons to form a loose six-foot wide patch under deciduous magnolias.

Tulipa whittallii, Jim McKenney

Tulipa Hybrids - Tulipa A-C - Tulipa D-H - Tulipa I-R - Tulipa index


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Page last modified on January 27, 2014, at 06:08 PM