Tulips brought to Europe by the Turks

New research by experts at the University of Cordoba and the School of Arabic Studies seems to indicate that the first tulips in Europe were brought to Islamic Spain by way of Byzantium. The bulbs could then have been brought to Holland, where they became the country's symbol.

Umdat al-tabib, a botanical study dating from the 11th or 12th centuries, places tulip cultivation in the Islamic areas of Spain and Portugal. Research indicates that ornamental use of the flower was brought to Spain by Seljuq Turks by way of the Byzantine Empire. The 20 year university study began with known cultivation of the plant in Turkey in the 11th century, followed by mention of it in Arabic Spanish texts.