Broken Tulips

In 1637, during the height of the Tulip-Mania period in Holland, a 'Semper Augustus' Tulip was valued as high as a fashionable grand house in Amsterdam. The Semper Augustus was a rare, multi-colored tulip with irregular flame- or feather-like markings. A standard tulip is solid-colored. A virus, carried from bulb to bulb by the peach potato aphid, irregularly suppressed the laid-on color of the tulip, allowing a portion of the base color to show through in that tell-tale flame or feathered pattern.The Semper August bulb no longer exists but other broken, flame-patterned cultivars known as English Florists' Tulips are cultivated by the Wakefield & North of England Tulip Society.