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Wild Tulip

Tulipa sylvestris

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Liliaceae (Lily)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
40 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, hedgerows, meadows, riversides, rocky places, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, 6 petals
A shy-flowering plant with flowers that droop in bud. The flowers are always yellow (but sometimes tinged red on the outside), unlike those of the Garden Tulip (Tulipa gesneriana). Pollinated by insects.
A roundish capsule.
Greyish-green, lance-shaped leaves, up to 8 inches (20cm) long. The leaves are narrower than those of the Garden Tulip.
The flowers are lemon-scented.
Other Names:
Botanical Tulip, Woodland Tulip.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Tulipa sylvestris, also known as wild tulip, is a bulbous perennial plant in the lily family (Liliaceae) native to central and southern Europe. It has a tall stem with one or several flowers, which are usually orange or red with pointed petals. The leaves are narrow and strap-like. It blooms in spring and early summer. The wild tulip is smaller than the cultivars of the tulip, it grows to a height of 20-40cm. It is often found in grasslands, meadows, and rocky areas. The plant is edible and has been used for medicinal purposes. It is also popular in gardening as an ornamental plant. It's considered a wild flower and a protected species in many countries.


Wild Tulip: A Fascinating Species of the Tulip Genus

Tulips are widely recognized as symbols of spring and are famous for their bright and vibrant blooms. However, not all tulips are the same. Among the many species of tulips, one that stands out is the Wild Tulip, also known as Tulipa sylvestris.

Tulipa sylvestris is a wild species of tulip native to the steppes of Central Asia, from Kazakhstan to Iran. Unlike the domesticated tulips that are popular in gardens and florist shops, Wild Tulips are smaller in size and have a more delicate appearance. Despite their small stature, they are incredibly hardy and can survive in harsh, arid environments.

One of the most interesting features of Tulipa sylvestris is its unique coloration. The flowers of this species come in shades of yellow, orange, and red, with some having dark maroon markings on the outside of the petals. The coloration of the flowers is believed to have evolved as a way to attract pollinators to the plant, making them more visible in their natural habitat.

In addition to their bright and eye-catching coloration, Wild Tulips are also known for their sweet fragrance. The scent is described as light and floral, and it is said to be most noticeable in the early morning and late afternoon. This fragrance, combined with their bright blooms, makes Wild Tulips a popular choice for wildflower gardens and nature walks.

Aside from their beauty and fragrance, Wild Tulips are also important to the ecosystem. They are a vital source of food for pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, and their roots help to prevent soil erosion. Additionally, Wild Tulips are considered an indicator species, meaning that their presence can indicate the overall health of the ecosystem. If Wild Tulips are flourishing, it is a sign that the environment is healthy and thriving.

Wild Tulips, or Tulipa sylvestris, are a fascinating species of tulip that are worth exploring. With their delicate beauty, bright coloration, and sweet fragrance, Wild Tulips are an essential part of any wildflower garden or nature walk. Whether you are a gardener, nature lover, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the natural world, Wild Tulips are a must-see.

Cultivating Wild Tulips

While Wild Tulips are a hardy species, they can be challenging to cultivate in gardens. They are native to arid, steppe-like environments, so they require well-drained soil and a sunny location. If you're considering growing Wild Tulips, it's important to research their specific growing requirements, as they may not be suitable for every garden.

If you are interested in cultivating Wild Tulips, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, they should be planted in the fall, when the soil temperatures have cooled and the weather is dry. This will give the bulbs time to establish roots before the spring growing season.

Once planted, Wild Tulips require minimal care. They are drought-tolerant and do not need to be watered frequently, making them a low-maintenance option for gardeners. They also do not need to be fertilized, as they are able to find the necessary nutrients in the soil.

When the Wild Tulips are in bloom, they can provide a stunning display of color and fragrance in your garden. To preserve the beauty of the flowers, it's best to avoid deadheading them, as they will naturally fade and die on their own.

In conclusion, Wild Tulips are a beautiful and hardy species of tulip that can be a great addition to any wildflower garden. However, they do have specific growing requirements, so it's important to research their needs before planting. With proper care and attention, Wild Tulips can bring a touch of beauty and fragrance to your garden for years to come.

Preserving Wild Tulips

As a wild species, Wild Tulips can be found growing in their native habitats across Central Asia. However, as with many wildflowers, their populations are vulnerable to habitat destruction and over-harvesting. To preserve Wild Tulips for future generations, it's important to protect their natural habitats and practice responsible harvesting.

One of the best ways to preserve Wild Tulips is to grow them in gardens and landscapes. By growing Wild Tulips in cultivation, you can help to protect the species and its habitat from over-harvesting and destruction. Additionally, growing Wild Tulips in gardens can help to introduce the species to new audiences, raising awareness and appreciation for their beauty and importance.

Another way to preserve Wild Tulips is to participate in conservation efforts. This can include supporting organizations that work to protect and preserve the habitats of Wild Tulips, as well as other wildflowers and species. You can also volunteer your time and skills to help with conservation efforts, such as planting new tulip populations or monitoring existing populations.

In conclusion, Wild Tulips are a beautiful and important species that need to be preserved for future generations. By growing Wild Tulips in gardens, participating in conservation efforts, and practicing responsible harvesting, we can help to ensure that these beautiful flowers continue to thrive in their natural habitats. Whether you're a gardener, nature lover, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the natural world, there are many ways to get involved and make a difference for Wild Tulips.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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