Etymological Meaning of the Tulip Flower
The name Tulip is short and to the point, but it comes with a long and convoluted history behind it. Etymologists currently trace it back to the Persian word for turban, delband. Yet this is likely due to a bad translation rather than an actual link, since Persian citizens loved to wear Tulips in their turbans and writings from the Ottoman empire about the flower were translated into Turkish, Latin, and French before arriving at the name we now use. All common Tulips belong in the Tulipa genus, but some variations are called neo-tulipa because they’ve grown wild for so many generations they’ve developed different characteristics.
Symbolism of the Tulip Flower
The Tulip is a classic flower of love, although it was considered more of a symbol for charity by the Victorians. The Turkish people who originally bred the flower considered it a symbol of paradise on earth, making it a part of many religious and secular poems and art pieces. While the Ottoman empire planted the bulbs to remind them of heaven and eternal life, the Dutch that popularized the flower considered it a reminder of how brief life can be instead. The link to love and passion developed primarily in the 20th and 21st centuries, but that doesn’t detract from the strength of the symbolism behind this flower.
The Tulip Flower Facts
All Tulips offer a basic cup shape that shows off the sides of the petals. A dark or light colored center contrasts against the petals and can symbolize a broken or light heart respectively. The flower has been in cultivation since the 13th century, but it really took off in the 1600s when Turkish traders introduced it to the Dutch. The Tulip crazes in the 17th century became so fevered that the bulbs were traded as currency and theft of the flowers triggered harsh penalties. Now the bulbs are available in grocery and home improvement stores for a just a few dollars.