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Of all the bulbous plants, the tulip is without a doubt the most popular. Tulips are grown on an extremely large scale, especially in the Netherlands where their history goes back to the end of the sixteenth century. That was when the first tulips were noticed growing in the vicinity of Leiden. Now, more than 400 years later, billions of tulips are being cultivated, the vast majority of them being exported from Holland. This goes not only for dry bulb sales but also for the cut flowers produced from the tulip bulbs. These cut flowers, available year-round in principle, are most in demand from November to May. The 'garden tulips' are the result of hybridisation in which the species Tulipa gesneriana played an important role. Now there are more than 3,000 cultivated varieties registered, more being added each year to replace older varieties.