There are dozens and dozens of species in the genus Tulipa, but only a handful are found in most gardens. Of those, many have a varied botanical ancestry: because Tulips have been in cultivation for so long, and were bred like crazy over a period of centuries, few are really “wild” in the sense that they can be found in undisturbed natural landscapes.
Always popular for their ease of growth and beautiful blooms, Tulips are continuously adding to their ranks with new cultivars. So, to make any sense of categorizing Tulips by characteristics, they are generally classified this way:
Division I – Single Early
Single flowers. Early season. Approx. height –12” to 18″.
Division II – Double Early
Full, double flowers. Early season. Approx.height – 12” to 20″.
Division III – Triumph
Cross between Single Early and Late-flowering. Comes in a wide range of colors. Mid season. Approx. height – 20″ to 24”.
Division IV – Darwin Hybrids
Produced as the result of crossing Darwin tulips with
Tulipa fosteriana. Large flowers on some of the tallest stems. Mid season. Approx. height – 20″ to 30”.
Division V – Single Late
Includes Darwin and Cottage Tulips. Once two distinct categories, these have been combined into one due to interbreeding. Wide variety of colors. Late season. Approx. height – 24” to 30″.
Division VI – Lily-flowered
Flowers with pointed, reflexed petals. Originally grouped with Cottage but given its own Division. Mid to late season. Approx. height – 26″.
Division VII – Fringed
Flower petals are edged with fringes. Originally grouped with Parrot Tulips. Mid to late season. Approx. height – 12″ to 24”.
Division VIII – Viridiflora
Petals display green streaks. Late season. Approx. height – 12″ to 24”.
Division IX – Rembrandt
“Broken” Tulips, striped or marked brown, bronze, black, red, pink, or purple on red, white, or yellow background.
Division X – Parrot
Curled, ruffled petals. A variety of colors, some streaked. Late season. Approx. height – 12″ to 24”.
Division XI – Double Late
Peony-flowered tulips. Large flower heads. Late season. Approx. height – 20″ to 24”.
Division XII – Kaufmanniana
Also called “water-lily Tulips” because the petals open up fully in the sun. Mid season. Approx. height – 6″ to 10”.
Division XIII – Fosteriana
Intensely colored flowers on short stems. Early to mid season. Approx. height – 6″ to 18”.
Division XIV – Greigii
Petals are pointed and brightly colored, sometimes a combination of two colors; foliage displays mottled or striped pattern. Early to mid season. Approx. height – 6″ to 14”.
Division XV – Miscellaneous Species
Usually shorter in stature; naturalize freely. Early to late season. Approx. height – 4″ to 10”.