* The tulip is not native to the Netherlands. It is a flower of the East,[...] of central Asia.
*Taxonomists believe that the first tulips sprang from the scrubby slopes of the Pamirs and flourished among the foothills and valleys of the Tien Shan MOuntains, where China and Tibet meet Russia and Afghanistan in one of the last hospitable environments on earth.
*the Turks would have encountered the tulip where it grew wild in the valleys of Tien Shan;
*Tulips, then, bacame an important symbol for the Turks. And as they moved westward across the endless steppe, [...]from Tien Shan to the Caspian Sea. [...] These tulips had spread westward naturally, thousands of years earlier.
*Osman of Sogut, and his dynasty (known as "Othman" to the Arabs and as "Ottoman" in Europe) proved to be the most glorious in all the long history of the Turks.
*It is impossible, to be sure how widespread was the cult of the tulip among the Ottomans who swarmed across the Balkans in the first half of the fifteenth century.
* The Turks told a story to explain why gardens were so important to them. When Hasan Efendi, a famous dervish holy man, was preaching one day,[...] Muslim could be certain he would go to paradise when he died. Hasan asked if there was any gardeners present. Then he pointed to that one and said: "This man will go to the heaven."
quoting from the hadiths -- which state that people will do in the afterlife what they most enjoy doing on earth. Because all flowers belong to heaven, gardeners will surely go to paradise to continue their work.
* For Ottomans as for the Persians, it had a tremendous symbolic importance and was literally regarded as the flower of God because, in Arabic script, the letters that make u[p lale, the Turkish word for "tulip" are the same as those that form Allah. The tulip also represented the virtue of modesty before God: When in full bloom, it bows its head.
*By the middle of the sixteenth century, tulips were becoming much more...