Notes Generic Tulip

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2:12 (KJV)

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2:12 (RSV)

Blossoms themselves have appeared in the land, the very time of vine trimming, and the voice of the turtle dove itself has been heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2:12 (NWT)

FIGURE 1.114 Tulip (Tulipa sp.).

Zohary offers that the mountain tulip (Tulipa montana Lindl.), with its wide array of colors, is probably of the Hebrew nitzanin (Arabic, nissan), the group of flowers or blossoms mentioned in Canticles. Zohary adds that even in Iraq, these groups of blossoms are recognized, as perhaps we here speak of our spring flowers, which do not bloom coincidentally but rather sequentially, In Iraq and the Holy Land, it is a group of sequential red flowers, beginning with the crown anemone and ending in the common poppy, today, as in biblical time. So we have three slightly different views of biblical phenology above. Of course there are close to 100 species of tulip, and nobody, not even Zohary, is sure that Tulipa montana, indeed any tulip, was intended in this passage. But he implies that the mountain tulip and/or other Israeli species have been involved in the evolved horticultural tulip.

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