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Tulipa sylvestris - L.

Common Name wild tulip
Family Liliaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards The bulb and the flowers have been known to cause dermatitis in sensitive people, though up to 5 bulbs a day can be eaten without ill-effect[65].
Habitats Meadows, orchards and rocky places[17, 50]. Often found growing in chalk pits and low-lying waste ground[245].
Range Europe - Mediterranean. Naturalized in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Tulipa sylvestris wild tulip

Tulipa sylvestris wild tulip


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of bulb
Tulipa sylvestris is a BULB growing to 0.3 m (1ft).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to May. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


T. florentina.

Plant Habitats

 Lawn; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Easily grown in a well-drained soil[90]. It can be naturalized in short grass[90]. The plant is often found growing in chalk pits in the wild and so should do well on alkaline soils[245]. The plant can increase quite rapidly by means of underground stolons and can be difficult to eradicate[245]. Bulbs can be harvested after the plants have died down in July, stored in a cool dry place and then replanted in October[1]. The flowers have a most pronounced perfume[245]. This species is in cultivation in Britain under the name 'Tabriz'[90].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown in a shady part of the cold frame as soon as it is ripe in early summer[1], or in the early autumn[200]. A spring sowing of stored seed in the greenhouse also succeeds[K]. Sow the seed thinly so that the seedlings can be grown on without disturbance for their first growing season - apply liquid feeds to the pot if necessary. Divide the bulbs once the plants have become dormant, putting 3 - 4 bulbs in each pot. Grow the on in the greenhouse for at least the next year, planting them out when dormant. Division of offsets in July. Larger bulbs can be planted out straight into their permanent positions, or can be stored in a cool place and then be planted out in late autumn. It is best to pot up smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out when they are dormant in late summer to the middle of autumn.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Tulipa clusiana stellata Bulb0.2 -  LMNM10 
Tulipa edulis Bulb0.2 6-9 SLMNM22 
Tulipa gesnerianaTulip, Didier's tulipBulb0.5 4-8  LMNM102
Tulipa montana Bulb0.1 5-9 SLMNM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

Diane Hutchinson   Tue Mar 27 2007

After quite a lot of research I belive that I have Tulipa sylvestris blooming and increasing in my garden. It came to me in the soil of a gift plant from another garden. Because it was pretty and I was intent in the beginning to increase my garden's plant diversity, I allowed it to remain when it first appeared. Now I have it growing everywhere, the perennial border, in the lawn, under shrubs, front and back yard, sun or shade. It spread in part because it tagged along as I moved plants and soil around my garden . It has a tendency to come up in the middle of clumps of things. Also the bulbs are small and not easily noticed. However I learned that there are other characteristics that contribute to its invasiveness. It grows quite deep, 10 to 12 inches in my experience. The stems are very delicate and thin often breaking before the bulb is found if one is trying to dig them out. Its' growth cycle is fast. As soon as the leaf emerges a stolen is probably already starting to colonize a new spot. Because it is often growing in the midst of something else, digging out is often not an option. Last, it is stoliferous. Once I discovered this I made a special effort to remove both the bulb and its bulblet at the end of the stolen. Again very difficult. If the new bulb is far enough along when the connection to the parent bulb is severed, the bulblet just keeps maturing. In short, one should not plant this plant unless it is in a place where it can merrily increase forever without negative impact on the existing ecosystem. I would love suggestions for its safe eradication in my garden. Digging is often not viable because of possible damage to other plants, not completely successful and labor intensive.

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