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Tulipa sprengeri was described in 1894 by Kew botanist J.G. Baker, based on cultivated material from Messrs. Dammann &Co. of Naples, who imported many bulbs from Amasya in Turkey. The specific epithet sprengeri honours Carl Sprenger, who was a partner in the firm. Tulipa sprengeri is commonly cultivated in gardens in Europe, but it is unknown in the wild at present, where it was last recorded in the late 19th century. This beautiful and distinctive, bright-red flowered tulip is the latest flowering member of the genus. In the UK, the leaves appear in late March and flowers in late May or June.

Tulipa sprengeri

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Extinct in the wild, Tulipa sprengeri is a late-flowering, bright-red tulip with small flowers and shiny green leaves.

Tulipa sprengeri was described in 1894 by Kew botanist J.G. Baker, based on cultivated material from Messrs. Dammann &Co. of Naples, who imported many bulbs from Amasya in Turkey. The specific epithet sprengeri honours Carl Sprenger, who was a partner in the firm. Tulipa sprengeri is commonly cultivated in gardens in Europe, but it is unknown in the wild at present, where it was last recorded in the late 19th century. This beautiful and distinctive, bright-red flowered tulip is the latest flowering member of the genus. In the UK, the leaves appear in late March and flowers in late May or June.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Tulipa sprengeri is thought to have been native to Amasya Province in northern Turkey.

Description

Overview:  A bulbous perennial with a bulb 3-4 cm long and a brown, papery tunic.

Leaves: Each plant has up to six leaves, which are glossy bright-green and narrowly lanceolate, the lowest and longest leaf being up to 35 cm long.

Flowers: The flowering stem is 30-40 cm tall and bears a single flower. The perianth segments (petals and sepals) are bright, intense scarlet, the outer three with a buff exterior, up to 6.5 cm long. The anther filaments are hairless and slightly flattened near the base. The stigma is three-lobed and short.

Fruits: The fruit is a narrowly cylindrical capsule, up to 5 cm long, with numerous brown seeds.

Morphological and molecular studies at Kew

Recent morphological and molecular studies at Kew have helped shed light on the classification of Tulipa sprengeri . As a result of studies by Michael Fay et al ., Kew horticulturist Richard Wilford has placed T. sprengeri in Tulipa subgenus Eriostemones (despite its hairless filaments, this subgenus otherwise only containing species with hairs on the base of the filaments).

Threats and conservation

There being no confirmed records of this species in the wild since the late nineteenth century, it is considered to be Extinct in the Wild, although it continues to thrive in cultivation. However, it is thought by some to be inconceivable that such a freely seeding species could become extinct through over-collecting. There are some who hope that a search of north-facing, wooded slopes around Amasya may well lead to its rediscovery.

Uses

Tulipa sprengeri is cultivated as an ornamental in Europe.

Cultivation

Tulipa sprengeri is easy to grow and will reproduce by seed freely in a suitable location. Deep sandy soil on greensand (sandstone rock) seems to suit it best. It is the only tulip that can be grown successfully in a woodland garden.

This species at Kew

Tulipa sprengeri can be seen growing in the Rock Garden and the Woodland Garden (the area around the Temple of Aeolus) at Kew.

Alcohol-preserved and pressed and dried specimens of other species of Tulipa are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details of some of these, including some images, can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

Distribution
Turkey
Ecology
Unknown, but probably open woodland or mountain scrub.
Conservation
Extinct in the Wild (EW) according to IUCN Red List criteria; only known in cultivation.
Hazards

None known.

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental.

Extinct in:

Turkey

Tulipa sprengeri Baker appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Dammann [21] K000844459 Unknown type material
Manissadjian, A. [1151], Turkey K000844458
KewTissue Bank [tbc on extraction] K000696785

First published in Gard. Chron., ser. 3, 15: 716 (1894)

Accepted by

  • Christenhusz, M.J.M., Govaerts, R., David, J.C., Hall, T., Borland, K., Roberts, P.S., Tuomisto, A., Buerki, S., Chase, M.W. & Fay, M.F. (2013). Tiptoe through the tulips - cultural history, molecular phylogenetics and classification of Tulipa (Liliaceae) Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 172: 280-328.
  • Davis, P.H. (ed.) (1984). Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 8: 1-632. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
  • Eker, I., Babaç, M.T. & Koyuncu, M. (2014). Revision of the genus Tulipa L. (Liliaceae) in Turkey Phytotaxa 157: 1-112.
  • Ekim, T. & al. (1989). Türkiye'nin tehlike altindakinadir ve endemik bitki turleri: 1-227. Ankara.
  • Everett, D. (2013). The genus Tulipa Tulips of the world: 1-380. Kew publishing, Kew.
  • Güner, A. (ed.) (2018). Resimli Türkiye Floras? (Illustrated Flora of Turkey) 2: 1-1054. ANG Vakf?/Nezahat Gökyi?it Botanik Bahçesi, Istambul.
  • Humphreys, A.M., Govaerts, R., Ficinski, S.Z., Nic Lughadha, E. & Vorontsova, M.S. (2019). Global dataset shows geography and life form predict modern plant extinction and rediscovery Nature Ecology & Evolution 3: 1043-1047.
  • Zonneveld, B.J.M. (2009). The systematic value of nuclear genome size for "all" species of Tulipa L. (Liliaceae) Plant Systematics and Evolution 281: 217-245.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Byfield, A., Atay, S. & Özhatay, N. (2010). Important Plant Areas in Turkey: 122 Key Turkish Botanical Sites. WWF-Turkey, Istanbul.
  • Fay, M.F., Borland, K., Stranc, P. & Chase, M. W. (2001). Phylogenetics of the genus Tulipa (Liliaceae): evidence from five plastid DNA regions. Botany 2001 Abstracts, Botanical Society of America, p.112.
  • Wilford, R. & Fay, M.F. (2007). Tulipa sprengeri. Liliaceae. Curtis’s Bot. Mag. 24: 211-216.
  • Wilford, R. (2006). Tulips: Species and Hybrids for the Gardener. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
  • World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2010). The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Eker, I., Babaç, M.T. & Koyuncu, M. (2014). Revision of the genus Tulipa L. (Liliaceae) in Turkey Phytotaxa 157: 1-112.

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0