Tuesday/ a broken tulip?


Here’s a tulip from my walk around the block tonight.
It might be a broken tulip: one infected with a plant virus called a potyvirus. The virus infects the bulb and breaks the single color in the petals. Bars, stripes, streaks, flames or feathers of different colors can be the result.

Unfortunately the virus is not benign — it eventually kills the bulb. The Semper Augustus with its fine red and white stripes was a broken tulip, famous for being the most expensive tulip sold during tulip mania. It is now long gone, and growing broken tulips (except under supervision) is illegal in the Netherlands.

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