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Guess which wild flower native to Central Asia took western Europe by storm in the 17th century, built and collapsed fortunes, served as currency,  led some to murder, others to suicide? None other than the tulip, of course!

Tulbend, the Turkish word for turban, which the flower resembles, is the source of the plant’s name, though it is called laleh in Persia and Turkey. The diversity of the genus is located in the Pamir and Hindu Kush ranges of the Himalayas and the steppes of Asia Minor. Most cultivars of tulip are derived from Tulipa gesneriana, and adorned the gardens of Sultans and the privileged who could afford such indulgence. The flamboyant colors and elegant chalice-shape of Tulips are instantly recoginzable and have been celebrated by artists, poets and folklorists, weavers and jewellers, architects and novelists, over many centuries. See more »