Tulips of tulip mania times are called broken and are illegal in the Netherlands
The capacity of tulips to change their colours and, after years of monochrome blooming, to suddenly bear flowers fantastically tinted by striking flames and streaks of contrasting colours, fascinated the Dutch during the tulip mania times. The tulips were called broken and the process – breaking, but not all tulips did it, so it was always considered a miracle when it happened.
The mystery was solved centuries later, in 1928, when the scientist Dorothy Cayley discovered the tulip breaking virus, called the “Mosaic virus”, which was transmitted by aphids – minute bugs, feeding on plants. Once infected, the broken tulips were displaying incredible colouring, but got weakened by the virus in time. That is why almost all the tulip varieties of the tulip mania times are extinct.
Unfortunately the tulip breaking virus is not extinct, and since tulip cultivation is key to the economy of the Netherlands, to protect the tulip plantations from the virus, broken tulips are illegal in this country.