Red Gem

'Red Gem'
Batalin's Tulip

"Though they expel me from two hundred cities,
I bear it for the sake of the love of a prince;
Though my shop & house be laid waste,
I bear it in fidelity to a tulip bed."

-Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi


We planted Tulipa batalinii 'Red Gem' not many feet from some well-naturalized 'Bright Gem' of the same species, with the expectation that the added bulbs would have similar behaviors.

Red GemBut 'Bright Gem' bloomed in April, 'Red Gem' in May. 'Bright Gem' when closed on overcast days looked like an origami pyramid; 'Red Gem' had no pyramidal shape when closed. 'Bright Gem' had fairly sturdy stems but 'Red Gem' was a mite floppy.

The primarily yellow 'Bright Gem' has been such a splendid botanical tulip that the impressiveness of 'Red Gem' suffered by comparison, though getting away from the comparisons, 'Red Gem' is also a lovely tulip. It's especially nice that it appears comparatively late in the season when the rest of the botanical tulips are finished.

On overcast days, or in the afternoon when its location is shaded, 'Red Gem' is a closed flower & shows its red outer petals quite handsomely. When full sun directly hits them, they open into veritable stars, with the inner petals fabulously intensely vermillion.

'Red Gem' stands five or six inches tall, leaning into the sun. It will naturalize & colonize with ease any site that is hot & sunny. It's best to remove the flowers as soon as they are spent, but before they go to seed, so that the bulbs expend more energy creating offsets rather than seeds. But leave the grassy foliage to die back on its own, or snip it when it yellows.

The species is native to Iran, Uzbekistan & Turkestan. It is named for the Russian botanist Alexander Feodorowicz Batalin (1847-1896), curator from 1870 until his death of the Imperical Botanical Garden at St. Petersburg.


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