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Any of almost 4,000 varieties of about 100 species of cultivated bulbous herbaceous plants making up the genus Tulipa in the lily family, native to Eurasia. Among the most popular of all garden flowers, the tulip produces two or three thick, bluish-green leaves clustered at the base of the plant. The usually solitary inverted bell-shaped flowers have three petals and three sepals. Colors range from white through yellows and reds to brown and deep purple to almost black. Streaked blossoms get their streaks from a harmless virus infection that causes the color to disappear in patterns, letting white or yellow show through.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tulip, visit Britannica.com.