tulip plantTulips are members of the genus Tulipa, of the Lily Family, the Liliaceae. Though 150 or more wild tulip species are known (they grow wild from the Mediterranean region and across Asia to Japan), most garden tulips are mostly derived from two species, Tulipa gesneriana, and Tulipa suaveolens. Some other wild types sometimes contribute a little genetic material as well.

Below I've gone into a tulip blossom so you can see the main parts up close. The white, cylindrical item with three little curved-back doodads atop it is the female pistil, as described on our Standard Blossom Page. The pistil is topped by a 3-lobed stigma. Most of the white, cylindrical part below the stigma is the ovary. The somewhat narrowed zone between the stigma and ovary is the style, which in most flower types is easier to make out than in tulip flowers.

inside a tulip blossomThe slender, black items radiating away from the base of the pistil are male stamens. In this flower nearly the entire stamens consist of  black, pollen-filled anthers. The hardly-visible, paler "stems" below the anthers are filaments which, again, in most flower types are more obvious than among the tulips. Tulip flowers have one pistil arising in their centers, with 6 stamens arising from around the pistil's base. This makes tulip flowers classic examples of inferior ovaries.

With tulip flowers, instead of speaking of the calyx and corolla, we use the special term perianth, which is used to mean the calyx and corolla considered together, when the two things are not clearly distinguishable. In other words, the "sepals" look just like the "petals. Therefore, we can say that the perianth segments of the flower in the picture are red, with black bases.

Garden tulips come in such variety and are so pretty and interesting that special words have come into use just for talking about them. These include: