Tulipa is a genus in the Liliaceae family from Europe, western Asia to central Asia and North Africa. There are about 100 species and thousands of cultivars. A book written in 2006 by Richard Wilford is a good source of information. Tulipa species i-s are found on this page.
Tulipa karabachensis Grossh. is considered to be a synonym of Tulipa armena Boiss.
Tulipa kaufmanniana Regel is known as the waterlily tulip as the flowers look like a waterlily when they are fully open. They are a popular tulip in cultivation as they bloom early and are available in many colors as cultivars. In the wild this species grows on stony, grassy slopes in the mountain shrub belt of the western Tien Shan. Photos by David Victor are shown below of it growing in the wild on the western Tien Shan mountains, Kazakhstan, in June 2004. These were all taken in the Ulkun-Kyindi Valley at some 8,000 feet and the sequence of shots clearly shows the great variability that the species shows in its natural habitat.
Tulipa lemmersii Zonn., Peterse & de Groot grows near Chymkent, Kazakhstan, on dry slopes in shallow, stony soil. The plants in the photo were grown from seed collected by Kurt Vickery and are shown in their second year of flowering, in an unheated, roofed bulb house in western Oregon. It is a small plant with flowers in attractive proportion to the foliage. Photo by Jane McGary in March 2021.
Tulipa linifolia Regel, native Iran, Afghanistan, and the Pamir Alai of central Asia is a winner of the RHS award of garden merit. It is now considered to include Tulipa batalinii Regel. It is a variable species with red or yellow flowers and narrow leaves. The first photo is from Mark McDonough who wrote: It "is a terrific rock garden size tulip species, with gorgeous brilliant red flowers that open wide to catch the sun. The red color didn't photograph accurately and appears to have a magenta tone. T. clusiana var. chrysantha can be seen in the right side of the photo." The second picture by Max Withers gives a better idea of the color of this species. His plant was purchased from the UC Botanic Garden. Photos 3-5 from Mary Sue Ittner show a pot of flowers in 2008 and bulbs on a 1 cm grid.
Tulipa montana Lindl., syn. Tulipa wilsoniana Hoog, grows wild in the mountains southeast of the Caspian Sea and in Iran. It has crimson flowers with a small black blotch in the center and yellow anthers. In the wild there are also yellow forms. Photos from Mary Sue Ittner.
Tulipa neustruevae Pobed. see Tulipa dasystemon (Regel) Regel
Tulipa orithyioides Vved. grown from seed collected by Josef Halda in the early 1990s. Photographed in a bulb frame in Oregon in late February, by Jane McGary. This tiny tulip, only about 5 inches tall, is kept dry in summer. The species was offered in the 2004 catalog of Janis Ruksans, who also collected it in Central Asia.
Tulipa orphanidea Boiss. ex Heldr. is found on hillsides and fields in Western Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. Growing from 15 to 30 cm, it has 1 to 3 dull red, orange red or orange yellow flowers with a blackish or dark green blotch in the center suffused greenish or yellowish on the exterior of the outer segments. Anthers are brown or dark green. A number of forms have been individually named including Tulipa hageri Heldr. and Tulipa whittallii and are regarded as species by some and considered as variants of this species by others. The funnel shaped flowers open wide in the sun. Photos from Mary Sue Ittner who purchased these bulbs as 'Flava', but when they flowered they don't fit the description.
Tulipa orphanidea 'Flava' is described as having flowers that are greenish yellow on the outside, tinged with red along the edges and towards the tip of the tepals. Inside the flower is lemon yellow with a small bronze-colored blotch.
Tulipa polychroma Stapf see Tulipa biflora Pall.
Tulipa praestans H.B.May grows on rocky slopes, screes, and in light woodland to 3000 meters (9840 feet) in the southern Pamir Alai, Tadzhikistan. Flowers are scarlet and cup shaped. This species is widely grown in the open garden in suitable locations and long lived. One of the characteristics of this species is that it can produce multiple flowers per bulb. Pictures below show bulbs that I have been growing in Northern California for more than twenty years, stored dry in summer, prechilled for six weeks in November, and planted in pots. They were originally purchased as the cultivar 'Fusilier', a RHS award of garden merit winner, which supposedly can produce up to seven flowers per bulb. I cannot remember if the original bulbs had multiple flowers, but for as long as I could remember my bulbs only produced one flower per bulb. In 2019 in a colder and wetter year several bulbs had more than one flower. The red flowers first appear in the leaves and then the stem gets longer. If we happen to have a warm sunny day when it flowers (February to March here in coastal Northern California), the flowers open wider. Photos 1 through 5 by Mary Sue Ittner show it in flower four different years and the bulbs on a 1 cm grid.
The photos below were taken by Janos Agoston and show the cultivars, 'Van Tubergen's Variety' and 'Zwannenburg Variety'.
Tulipa pulchella (Fenzl ex Regel) Baker is a synonym of Tulipa humilis var. pulchella (Fenzl ex Regel) Christenh.
Tulipa regelii Krasn. grows in semi-desert and on stony mountain slopes in SE. Kazakhstan, an area with very hot summers and very cold winters. It has a broad blue-grey undulating leaf and with funnel-shaped flowers with a yellow center. Photo 1 from John Lonsdale. Photos 2 and 3 from Jane McGary, showing 4 plants grown from the Archibalds' seedlist, in their third year of flowering, which began seven years from sowing.