Monday, May 4, 2009


Adrian Higgins, for The Washington Post, wrote a great article about tulips and the craze that gripped Holland in the 17th century - a topic near and dear to my heart since Michael Pollan dedicated a quarter of The Botany of Desire to it. Higgins, however, initially approaches the mania not so much from a co-evolutionary standpoint, but rather in regards to the "lust for illusory wealth" and the parallels to our current economic crisis. I love what she wrote here:

Those who had borrowed to invest in shares found themselves ruined. Here's another interesting parallel between tulipmania and our current economic mess: The most coveted bulbs had bicolored petals whose patterns danced like flames or feathers. Scientists later discovered that this was due to a virus transmitted by aphids. Talk about toxic assets.

She also reports on her favorite varieties found in the bulb fields of Brent and Becky Heath, down in Gloucester, VA. Some of her faves include: Brown Sugar, World Peace, Gavota, Banja Luca, Silverstream, Juan, Cynthia, and Lady Jane.

If you are interested in learning a little more about Tulipmania, here are a few other resources:

Bulb Bubble Trouble by Daniel Gross for Slate

When the Tulip Bubble Burst, a BusinessWeek review of Mike Dash's Tulipomania


Filatore said...

This reminds me a totally inappropriate adolescent joke from Jr High school. Should I shae it here or elsewhere?

Deborah said...

Go for it!

Filatore said...

What's better than daisies on my piano?

Tulips on my organ!

(say it slowly...tulips=two lips!)

It was hilarious in 8th grade!

becky said...

Funny joke :)

But Debbie, intersting post. thanks!

Anonymous said...

I think Michael Pollan should change the spelling of his last name to "Pollen" LM