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Did you know about Bulbs?

This week Greenfingers launches its comprehensive bulb range. From narcissi and tulips to alliums and irises, the bulbs included are sure to bring colour, drama and even fragrance to your garden. As a taster of what is to come, we’ve dug up some interesting facts about these little packages of pleasure.

  • The name ‘bulb’ derives from the Greek word ‘bolbos’, meaning onion.

  • The interlinking scales that make up the hard case of a bulb are actually modified leaves.

  • A bulb is really a food storage organ designed to exist permanently underground.

  • Bulbous plants grow in a greater variety of different habitats around the world than any other type of plant.

  • Bulbs were the first plants to be successfully moved from their native habitats to different countries. This was because they could be dug up easily, transported, then replaced in their dormant state, which is part of their annual cycle.

  • Daffodils and snowdrops found growing in the wild were among the first plants ever to be cultivated in Britain.

  • The name for the narcissus comes from the Greek word ‘narke’, which means numbness or stupor. This is because its bulbs are toxic and cause paralysis.

  • Cooking onions (Allium cepa) were long in use as medicinal aids, as well as charms against infection. Their close relative garlic (Allium sativum) is now known to be an effective antiseptic.

  • The Madonna lily can claim probably the most ancient illustration of any flower. It is depicted on pottery from Egypt and Crete, dating from shortly after 2000BC.

  • In Holland during the 17th century, tulip bulbs became a highly valuable commodity. In 1637 a single tulip bulb was sold at auction for 5,400 Dutch guilders – the equivalent of roughly 350,000 today.

  • Cardiocrinum giganteum, the 'Giant lily’, is probably the largest bulb that grows in Britain. It can reach a height of over 3 metres (10 feet).

  • In the 18th century, the juice of hyacinths was mixed with wine and used to prevent beard growth.

  • In Greek myth, Crocus and Narcissus were young men who became immortal when the gods turned them into flowers.

  • The stamens of Crocus sativus are the source of saffron.

    Visit our Superstore to see the fantastic range of bulbs that are now available.

Articles reprinted with permission from

Free Garden Catalog


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