Tulips are a sign that spring has finally arrived, warmer weather is upon us and the busy summer season is right around the corner for us here at the Zoo. These small, brightly colored plants are a springtime favorite for Midwestern gardeners but, have you ever considered their origin?
According to historians, tulips are native to Central Asia in what is now Turkey and Iran. They were imported to Holland, most likely during the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s. The Dutch fell in love with this plant and intensively cultivated it to produce many different colors and sizes. Over time, some of the Dutch emigrated to other places such as the Midwestern United States, Southeast Brazil, and Southeast Australia, taking their coveted bulbs with them. They found that even in these new places their beloved tulips grew quite well.
Today there are festivals around the globe celebrating springtime with this small, bright plant that signals the beginning of warmer days. The Indianapolis Zoo is no exception. Look for our springtime displays, featuring the tulips, in the White River Gardens and the Bicentennial Pavilion during xZOOberance, our new springtime event.
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