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Home » Wild tulips of Kazakhstan. The unique nature of Kazakhstan.

Tulipa Greigii.

Excursions behind tulips in Kazakhstan.

“Don't be ashamed to weep; 'tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us” 

 Brian Jacques, Taggerung.

Floristic tours in Kazakhstan.

Most famous are Greig’s tulips. Thick-leaved Greig’s tulip with dark-cherry colours and a large (up to 15 cm) cyathiform flower is called as “The King of Tulips”. In April – May this flower can be seen on the slopes of the mountains.
This wild species of tulips is amazing because there can be up to 20 flowers and even more growing on one square meter. Greig’s tulips were tested at the end of the last century and in 1877 this species received the first-class diploma in Holland. At present it is the progenitor of almost 200 species.
This is more than 5% of the global assortment of tulips. In the upper streams of Baldabrek and Bala-Baldabrek Rivers there are also Greig’s tulips but with yellow flowers, not red. In some areas you can see great variety of tulips’ colours with various transitions from red to yellow. Almost every flower here is different from others.
One of the factors promoting the apperance of such an amazing diversity of tulips is undoubtedly the soil structure. Unusual tulips are revealed in the gigantic mountain crack. The rocks in these areas show that the geological history of this area is complex.
That was why these areas always attracted the attention of mountainous geological expeditions. On the beds of such a crack there is a thin layer of soil with great quantity of chemical elements, which probably caused the mutation of tulips.
Tulipa greigii Regel. 20 - 50 cm tall, bulb ovoid, 2,5 - 4 cm thick, with coriaceousblack-brown inside, mainly at the apex and at the base, dense hairy tunics. Upper part of stem is pubescent; leaves 3 - 4 in number, more or less connivent, deflexed, curly, glaucous, with many violet spots on the back, the upper are more or less pubescent, ciliated, usually reaching the flower, the lowest is oblong to elliptic, 3,5 - 8 cm broad.
One flower. perianth lobes are red or orange, sometimes tuning yellow, with red spot in the middle, yellow at the base, with black spot, 5 - 15 cm long, the outer are pubescent, ovate, deflexed above, little shorter than inner, the inner are obovate; stamens 3 times shorter than perianth, filaments are glabrous, yellow or blackish, anthers are yellow, rare violet, 2 times longer than filaments; ovary with sessile stigma; fruit case 2 - 3 cm wide, 4 - 6 cm long.
Flowering time in April-May. Distribution in Kazakhstan: Endemic. It grown in detritus and loamy steppes, slopes of foothills or hills. Occurs in Kzyl-Orda, Turkestan floristic regions, in western extreme end of Zailiisky and Kungei Alatau (at the joint with Chu-Ili Mountains around Kurdai Pass), Kyrgyz Alatau, Chu-Ili Mountains and Karatau.
Registered in the Red Book of Kazakhstan.

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Authority
“Tulips of Kazakhstan”. Almaty, LTD “Almatykitap baspasy”. 2010, 272 p. Illustrated.

Photos
Alexander Petrov.