When we were constructing our house we found some long-neglected and abandoned tulip bulbs in a portion of the lot that had been dry for years. I dug them up, apologized for their neglect, and replanted them with a promise of water. They returned the favor by blooming each year and continuing to spread – and it turned out they were cool striped tulips (along with some regular pink and yellow ones). A friend of mine has since educated me that this is a virus, but a valuable one. People apparently cultivate and patent tulip virii to get these stripes. How lucky were we?
These tulips were free (in that we dug up dormant bulbs from a side yard and moved them without knowing they would survive). Imagine our surprise at the vivid colors! I am told by my plant pathologist friend that this is due to a virus in the plant – one that people cultivate and patent if they can, apparently. I just got lucky and have gorgeous tulips.