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A long time ago, you could only find them on the slopes of remote mountain ranges in Asia, but today they are the very symbol of modern genetics, a species unrivalled for the variety of colors and forms that breeders can create: tulips.  In this book, Celia Fisher traces the story of this important and highly popular plant, from its mountain beginnings to its prevalence in the gardens of Mughal, Persian, and Ottoman potentates; from its migration across the Silk Road to its explosive cultivation in the modern European world.
Fisher looks at how tulips’ intensely saturated color has made them an important species for botanists and gardeners. Initially rare in sixteenth century Netherlands, tulips sparked such frenzy among aristocratic collectors that they caused the first economic bubble and collapse. Exploring the ways cultivators have created one hybrid after another—in an astonishing range of colors and shapes—Fisher also shows how tulips have inspired art and literature throughout the centuries, from Ottoman Turkey to the paintings of the Dutch Masters, from Alexandre Dumas’s novel The Black Tulip to contemporary artist David Cheung painting them atop pages of the Financial Times. Stunningly illustrated, this book offers a unique cultural history of one of our most important flowers.

224 pages | 70 color plates, 30 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2017


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"Fisher follows these flowers throughout the course of history—from their wild origins to their horticultural development in Asia and Europe. This work is an engrossing introduction to one of the world’s most loved horticultural taxa. . . . Tulip is incredibly readable and worthwhile for general readers who are interested in horticulture, botany, history, or art. . . . The text is strongly recommended for public libraries and academic institutions. . . . Highly recommended."


"A concisely written account of various wild tulips, from their origins in the mountains of Central Asia, to their cultivation in the gardens of Mughal, Persian, and Ottoman rulers, and their transfer along the silk route. Tulip is an appropriately illustrated botanical and cultural history of this beloved bulb. It depicts tulip representations on a  trove of art treasures across diverse formats, including charming patterns on tiles from Iznik, Turkey, lacquer book bindings, bedsheets, fabric designs, manuscripts, paintings, and the august painting from Thornton's Temple of Flora, a grand scale reproduction of it adorning the reading room of the Missouri Botanical Garden's Peter H. Raven Library. . . . Fisher's Tulip can appeal to weekend gardeners, horticulturalists, and history buffs who admire or grow this fashionable flower."

Dorothea Bedigian, Missouri Botanical Garden | Plant Science Bulletin

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