Tulipa gesneriana L. or "Didier's tulip" is a plant belonging to the family of Liliaceae. This species has uncertain origins, possibly from Asia and has become naturalised in south-west Europe. Most of the cultivated species, subspecies and cultivars of tulip are derived from Tulipa gesneriana.
Tulip collecting mania swept through Europe and particularly Holland between 1634 and 1637. Bulbs were exchanged for land, livestock, and houses. A single bulb, the Semper Augustus, fetched 6 000 florins in Haarlem, and tulips were routinely traded on stock exchanges throughout Holland. At that time, a florin could purchase a bushel of wheat. As with speculation in any commodity, fortunes were made and lost.
The flower and bulb can cause dermatitis through the allergen, tuliposide A, even though the bulbs may be consumed with little ill-effect. The sweet-scented bisexual flowers appear during April and May. Bulbs are extremely resistant to frost, and can tolerate temperatures well below freezing - a period of low temperature is necessary to induce proper growth and flowering, triggered by an increase in sensitivity to the phytohormone auxin.
The bulbs may be dried and pulverised and added to cereals or flour.