This very distinct and desirable species is the latest of all of the Tulipa species to flower. It is very late in the Tulipa season, usually well into May, sometimes June before this flowers. The blooms are medium sized, held on stiff elegant stems and are of a vivid postbox-red with a hint of gold on the outside, held over narrow, bright green leaves. The plant attains 30-40 cm (shorter in bright sunshine, taller in shade) but its slender nature means it is never anything but elegant.
This one really likes, and needs, to be out in the garden. It never needs lifting, it comes up year after year and will even seed about if happy.
The bulbs go very deep which renders it poor for commercial cultivation, hence its scarcity and price, coupled with its lack of offsets (it has to be brought on from seed) and its small bulbs, that make it hard to find. Our stock is almost always limited. However it is, quite simply, the best tulip for the garden that there is.
Found just once in the wild in the Pontus Mountains of Turkey, near Amasya, it was described in 1894. It has never been seen again since in the wild and it seems probable that the original locality was incorrect as the plant is deep rooting and highly perennial.
AM (RHS) 1948, AGM (RHS) 1949 and 1993