All about Tulips
In The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas (the father of the more famous Dumas who wrote The Count of Monte Cristo), an entire town in the Netherlands is struck by tulip mania. An enormous prize is offered to any grower who can procure a truly black tulip. Indeed, the Dutch were well known for tulip worship, and rare tulip bulbs sold for prices equivalent to thousands of dollars in Amsterdam’s storied flower district. Though tulips are no longer valued as jewels (though perhaps they should be?) these members of the lily family still appear in luminous colors, with large and bright globes floating on improbably thin and graceful stems, looking like museum-quality baubles from ancient empires.