Red viridiflora tulip

Tulip Confusion

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Packing flower bulbs must be a tricky job. If something goes awry and the wrong variety gets into a batch that’s being packed, how could you tell? So it’s not very surprising if something turns out to be different to what you thought you’d bought…like the tulip here. The pack was labelled ‘Hollywood Star’ but that tulip looks different to this one.

The flowers of Hollywood Star are much more red than the magenta here, and a different shape. They’re more the usual rounded tulip shape that you might expect. This one is different. It’s a lily-flowered tulip, with narrow petals that curve backwards. Happily for me, that has made this a more interesting flower to photograph because the petals have some lovely wavy curves. To me, the shapes they make suggest energy and a tendency to do their own thing. It also makes each flower slightly different from the next, so that gives more variety to my photographs.

This labelling mistake has turned out well for me. As a garden flower (rather than just a photographic subject), I find I prefer the unpredictability of this tulip over something more uniform. That makes me wonder if it’s good to sometimes have less control in the garden. Unexpected planting can certainly make life more interesting!

I still don’t know what this tulip is. There is a slight green marking at the base of the petals, so, like Hollywood Star, it is a viridiflora type. From looking at photos elsewhere, I think it’s probably ‘Doll’s Minuet, so if I want to grow more, that’s what I’ll look for. Will I end up with something different? Haha, maybe!

Red viridiflora tulip

21 thoughts on “Tulip Confusion

    1. Thanks Jude! I’ve been very pleased with these because they’ve lasted well so far. They’ve been in the ground for 3 years….a very well-drained and sunny spot, so that seems to suit them nicely. Hope they keep going! (And I hope your random bulbs turned out to be something that you were happy with!)


  1. That’s a beautiful flower, and your photos certainly do it justice. If I’d come across it just growing somewhere, I’m not sure I would have recognized it as a tulip. If someone asked me to draw a tulip from memory, it would look like those more uniform blooms you mentioned. Something did occur to me for the first time: where were tulips native? They had to be growing somewhere before the plant breeders got ahold of them. Was it Holland and that area? or somewhere else?


    1. You made me curious…I found some info on Sarah Raven’s website . She says that they were originally a wild flower from Central Asia and that the Turks started cultivating them around 1000 AD. So that must mean that most are a long way from their wild origins. But there are some species tulips available to gardeners which are really pretty and will come back easily year after year, making big clumps with time. I was very tempted to buy bulbs for several of those last year but knew I wouldn’t have time to get them planted – maybe this year! πŸ™‚


  2. We have several daylilies and daffodils whose names we don’t know but we just enjoy them. A daffodil by any other name, etc. πŸ™‚ The same is true for your tulip. It’s lovely no matter what it’s called.

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  3. Count me among those who might not have recognized this as a tulip, Ann. But I think it’s very pretty and I think the fact that you expected something different to bloom makes this quite special. It might be fun to buy and plant “surprise” bulbs in the autumn and try to identify them the following spring.

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    1. Probably a good idea to have them in pots, so that you can then put them wherever the colour looks good. Kinda reminds me of a friend my Mum had when my parents lived in Spain – and old Spanish lady who used to grow a lot of her own veg. Mum said that this lady would walk around her friends’ gardens pushing broad bean seeds into the soil here and there, anywhere she thought would suit a plant. I wonder if she told the friends or whether they just got unexpected bean plants, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it was a batch that was wrongly labelled – the whole pack was the same and I’m rather pleased about it! (They’re much more interesting than what they were supposed to be.)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Normally a packet of bulbs is reliable in letting you know what to expect – but this time the flowers were much nicer than the advertised ones. Lucky me! (And yes, much better to photograph. πŸ™‚ )


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