Variegated tulip varieties, or broken tulips, admired during the Dutch tulip mania gained their delicately feathered patterns from an infection (the virus "breaks" the plant's lock on a single color of petal)of a mosaic virus that was carried by the green peach aphid. These aphids were common in European gardens of the seventeenth century. While the virus produces fantastically colorful flowers, it also weakens the plants. The virus is all but eradicated from tulip growers' fields and the modern varieties that display fantastic flames and patterns are the result of careful breeding and preservation of something broken, but still beautiful.
|strongs king tulip|