Close-up View of Two
Tulipa x hybrida
by Brian Johnston (Canada)
In the first part of this month’s
article, both the ‘form’ and ‘function’ of a parrot tulip are
discussed. Here however, the emphasis is almost entirely on the ‘form’ of another parrot tulip type,
since the reproductive structures are identical.
The image above shows the brilliant yellow and red colouration of this
second type. Notice that unlike the earlier tulip, this one has
no projections growing from the surfaces of its petals. The bloom shown
has a diameter of about eight centimetres.
The range of colours in the buds and blooms is remarkable. As you
can see below, only the buds have green in their colour spectrum.
It would be difficult to predict the final colour pallet of the blooms,
if one had only buds to examine.
Each bud is a miniature sculpture with a unique structure and
colouration. For this reason, I have chosen to concentrate on
this early stage of the flower’s development in the article.
Usually, the emphasis is put on the final flower. Here instead,
we look closely at its precursor. Here is a perfect
example. I hope you agree that the botanical sculpture seen below
Each bud is structurally unique. For proof, have a look at the
As we move closer to the buds, the details can be seen more clearly.
The three images that follow show one view of a bud, and several
Here is another example.
Before we examine the next stage in the flower’s blooming process, here
are several additional close-ups of parrot tulip buds.
From one to two days after the bud stage seen in the previous images,
the flowers begin to open. As you can see below, the green colour
has almost faded away, leaving pale yellow in its place.
Eventually, all traces of green are gone.
The distinctive red pattern seen at the tip of the central petal exists
(with subtle variations) on all petals.
Here are a couple of images of floral details. The right-hand
image shows a particularly perfect example of the red pattern mentioned
I mentioned a moment ago that there are variations in the red pattern
at the tips of petals. Here is a particularly striking
example. The two-parted bulbous structure seen clearly in the
second and third images is not solid. The form is concave on the
A side and back view of an open bloom can be seen below. As with
most parrot tulips, the stem is the weakest link. It is usually
not strong enough to support the mature flower in an upright position.
The point of connection of flower to stem is examined in the series of
images that follow.
To conclude, here are two macro views of this extraordinary tulip
I hope that the images in this article have convinced you that it is
not necessary to travel to an art gallery to view modern sculpture. The buds of
the botanical marvel, the parrot
tulip, transform any room in which they are present into their
own museum of modern (botanical) art!
The macro-photographs were taken with an eight megapixel Canon 20D DSLR
equipped with a Canon EF 100 mm f 2.8 Macro lens which focuses to
1:1. A Canon 250D achromatic close-up lens was used to obtain
higher magnifications in several images.
Microscopy UK or their contributors.
Published in the
December 2006 edition of Micscape.
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