The Tulip

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The tulip is a flower with a past that does not disappoint. Centuries ago, it was a wild jewel growing on the slopes of the Central Asian Pamir Mountains. It traveled from there, halted only by the extreme cold of the Arctic and the extreme heat of the Middle East.

In the 16th century, the French claim to be the first Europeans to grow and sell les fleurs. Tulipomania arrived in the Netherlands in the 17th century, and for a short time bulbs were worth more than the cost of an Amsterdam townhouse.

Tulipomania, though, did not stop there! One 18th century Scottish grower slept in a tent over his bulbs to watch every minute of their gentle flowering. The tulip made its way to the New World with the first Dutch colonists who tip-toed through them on the island of Manhattan.

There are more than 5600 hundred varieties today, from mahogany red Abu Hassan to pure white Zwanenburg. Tulipomania is on this hour.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)