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  • Writer's picture三重県剪定伐採お庭のお手入れ専門店 剪定屋空

What's the Japanese name for tulips? Does smelling them make you feel blue?

From above, they momentarily resemble anemones, but these are indeed tulips. Known even to young children, they're incredibly popular flowers.


tulip. Do you know its Japanese name?
tulip. Do you know its Japanese name?

After all, there's a song about them. Yes, the one that starts with "Bloomed, bloomed, the tulips have bloomed."


So, about the well-known tulip. Do you know its Japanese name?

Tulips are called "ukonkou" in Japanese, written as 鬱金香.


Wait, does it include the character for depression? You might wonder if that's okay. Yes, it's perfectly fine! Smelling them won't make you feel melancholic.


The name "Ukonkou" comes from the turmeric-like fragrance of tulips. Turmeric, which is also good for hangovers, is written as "鬱金" in kanji.


Although the kanji might not seem very positive, its original meaning is said to be "vivid yellow." Indeed, the yellow of turmeric is quite beautiful.


Tulips have a long history in Japan, dating back to the Edo period.


Originally from Central Asia, tulips were introduced to the Netherlands in the 16th century. There, tulip bulb trading swept through the economy, causing the world's first economic bubble known as "Tulip Mania." Subsequently, tulips spread throughout Europe and then to countries around the globe.


This truly is what you call Tulip Mania.


Tulips were introduced to Japan around the mid-Edo period. Though there are various theories, it is said to have been between the late 17th and early 18th centuries. At the time, the Netherlands was the only Western country officially trading with Japan, which was in a state of national seclusion. Thus, through Dutch ships, tulips and many other plants were brought to Japan via Dejima in Nagasaki.


Here's a fun fact! The difference between seeds and bulbs!


A common question from customers is, what's the difference between seeds and bulbs? Simply put,Seeds evolved to seek good conditions for sprouting roots and buds.


Bulbs are roots that have swollen to allow the plant to grow even in harsh environments.

Depending on the seed or bulb, some propagate through birds as intermediaries or use animals like burdock seeds, while bulbs become heavy enough not to be easily moved, often containing toxins to protect themselves from predators.


Many seeds also contain toxins, but some plants have evolved to prioritize taste, which can be fascinating to research.


Why not take a moment to smell the tulips in your garden?


Contrary to the turmeric-like scent, there are increasingly more tulips with a pleasant, flower-like fragrance, so enjoy!


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