Broken tulips hold tragic beauty
There are 150 species of tulips, but there’s one kind of tulip you’re unlikely to see this spring: the broken tulip. Afflicted by viral infections, the flowers bloom in patterns of flames and feathers. Broken tulips were once so prized that they helped fuel Tulip Mania, which peaked in the Netherlands in the 1630s.
But the virus that creates these blazing beauties also kills them. Planting them can spread the contagion to other tulips or to lilies — which is why they are now illegal in the Netherlands.