While it is true that the majority of tulips are odourless, some of them are blessed with quite a pleasant and sometimes intense fragrance. But what exactly do tulips smell like?
A study conducted in Japan in 2012 examined the floral volatiles emitted by the fresh flowers of cultivar tulips and identified over 130 chemical components generating their scents. The compounds identified in the examined tulips allowed the researchers to arrange the flowers according to their odour profiles into the following 9 scent groups:
The Dutch government published a guide on how to prepare tulip bulbs correctly, instructing people to first cut them in half and remove their flower germs, which accumulate toxins. The guide contained as well various recipes of soups, porridge, fried, roasted or mashed tulip bulbs and even ways of making flour from tulip bulbs, for baking bread.
Hard times are luckily long behind, but the tulip bulb has preserved its status of food item. Modern cuisine has explored an reinvented the tulip bulb as a culinary treat, which can nowadays be found on the menu of luxury restaurants.