The Dutch Tulip: heritage cultivars

The Dutch Tulip: heritage cultivars

From my garden:
Zilver Standaard
Dutch tulip, 1760

zilver standaard tulip 1760


One of the latest Dutch heritage tulips to surface in my garden is also one of my favourites: the Zilver Standaard, a Dutch tulip which hails from 1760. It is part of my heritage tulip collection spanning the 16th to the 19th centuries – all sourced from the friendly conservation team at the Hortus Bulborum in Limmen, Holland. For an overview of my collection click here to see the tulips page.

It is a relatively strong tulip; stronger than the earlier 17th century cultivars. It has a yellow base and white petals which show red flames. Some tulips have more red flames, some fewer, so there is quite a variety within the same cultivar. While very beautiful, this cultivar should not be confused with the flamed tulips of the 1600s, which only showed the famous and popular ‘broken’ colour due to a mosaic virus. This, unknown at the time, weakened the tulip plant and eventually pushed it to extinction.

Only one broken 17th century Dutch tulip cultivar remains today: the Zomerschoon (1620). This tulip appears to have developed tolerance. I was able to get hold of a few Zomerschoon bulbs last year – the buds are now showing and I’ll show you a photo when, after 4 years of waiting for this tulip, I can finally paint it.

UPDATE: the Zomerschoon is now appearing in my paintings (2022, 2023), they’re such a delight to paint:

Zomerschoon 1620 Fritillaria meleagris and forget-me-nots Tanja Moderscheim