The genus’s native range extends west to the Iberian Peninsula, through North Africa to Greece, the Balkans, Turkey, throughout Syria, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Iran, North to Ukraine, southern Siberia and Mongolia, and east to the Northwest of China.The tulip’s centre of diversity is in the Pamir, Hindu Kush, and Tien Shan mountains. It is a typical element of steppe and winter-rain Mediterranean vegetation. A number of species and many hybrid cultivars are grown in gardens, as potted plants, or as cut flowers.
Of the many varieties grown in the northern hemisphere only the Darwin hybrids are readily available in South Africa. Unfortunately, because we have a relatively warm winter and short spring, the other varieties just do not perform well. Luckily the Darwin hybrids, with their large, goblet-shaped blooms atop long stems, look breathtaking in the garden, so there is no need to feel despondent. They are available in red, yellow, white, pink and striped.