Tulipa greigii


Historical Background. The flower was described by Edward L. Regel. It was brought from the Karatau mountains. Initially it was described as a kind of Tulipa altaica var. karatavica, in 1868, but later – in 1873 – as a separate species. It is named after Samuel A.Greig (1827-1887) – President of the Russian Society of Horticulturists. The reference sample is in the Herbarium of the Botany Research Institute of St. Petersburg.


Brief Description. The bulb is oblong-egg-shaped or round, 2-4 cm in diameter with reddish – fulvous coriaceous scales whose inside is densely corever by filaments in the top and bottom. The stem is from 10 to 50 cm long, the flower-bearer is downy. The leaves are usually 4, rarer 3 or 5; they decrease in size towards the top, the lower leaf is oval-oblong or wide-ellipse shaped, the top leaf is spear-shaped. They are bluish-grey, with dark violet or claret-coloured spots of various intensiti. The flower is fine wineglass or cup shaped, up to 10-12 cm high, the outer leaves of perianth are pointed to a downy tip. Its color is mostly red of all shades, sometimes it is orange, bright-yellow, and light-cream, actually,white. The bottom of the red flowers is either black or yellow. Often light-coloured flowers have red or vermillion spots of different shapes and sizes on the inner side of perianth leaves. The staminal filaments and anthers are of yellow, blackish or dark-claret colors. The fruit is up to 8 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, the number of normally developed seeds is up to 313. It propagates by seeds, very rarely by cloning.


Phenology. It blossoms from the first decade of April through the beginning of June, and bears fruit in June-July.


Ecology. It grows in the valleys and gentle sides of foothills, in clay soil, fine earth as well as detritus and stony slopes up to 2400 m above sea level.


Spreading over Kazakhstan. From the northern deserts (around Kyzyl-Orda) along the mountains and gentle sides of foothills of Karatau, Western Tien Shan, the mountain ranges of Kyrgyz and Chu-Ili up to the Korday Pass in the Zailiskiy Alatau mountains (the Zhambul, South-Kazakhstan oblasts and east of Kyzyl-Orda oblast).


Applicability. The bulbs are edible in fresh and baked ways. In Uzbek and Kazakh traditional medicine the petals are used as pain relief against headaches.

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