Orange Botanical Tulip

"Light kisses mountain peaks,
Where tulips shine."

-Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor


Tulipa orphanidea var. flava seems to have no widely accepted common name, though Anatolian Tulip might've been a nice choice, as it is native of Southeast Europe, Bulgaria, Greece & western Turkey, where its usual habitat is amongst pines, cornfields, & rocky precipices.

The variant name is also its cultivar name, having been registered as 'Flava' in 1960 by J. M. C. Hoog, though it was being grown quite some while before registry.

TulipIt is a bit taller than T. orphanidea per se, more richly colored, & easier to grow. Consequently it is 'Flava' that is the much more commonly grown, though both the species & its variant exist naturally in the wild.

It is a modest tulip only about eight inches tall, with stems that are tippy on an overcast day but perk up on sunny days. They are multi-flowering in bronzy yellow & orange, tinged on the outside with flashes of red & green. Just a few bulbs can very quickly seem like many, & will naturalize for future increase.

The regular species is variable in color though always in the orange to red range. The natural variant 'Flava' is yellow & orange with the outside of the petals flushed red. The variant is sometimes nearly identical to T. sylvestris but with brownish anthers to distinguish it. It will hybridize with either T. whittalli or T. sylvestris if they are planted near one another. T. orphanidea is closely related to T. whittalli, but a little less showy.

'Flava' prefers a dry sunny location; ours are along a sunny sidewalk garden at the foot of a Choke Berry bush & next to another botanical tulip, T. marjolettii, which blooms after 'Flava,' in May. 'Flava' blooms for April, the two photos on this page showing the same patch in two consecutive Aprils, 2003 & 2004.


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