MadSci Network: Botany

Re: How can I change the colour of the tulips?

Date: Sat Apr 28 00:40:27 2001
Posted By: David Hershey, Faculty, Botany, NA
Area of science: Botany
ID: 988364830.Bt

I have never heard that a change in soil chemistry can affect tulip flower 
color. Soil pH can affect the color of hydrangea flowers. Hydrangea flowers are 
blue when the soil pH is acid and pink when the pH is neutral or alkaline. With 
an acid soil pH, aluminum is more soluble and absorbed by the hydrangea. The 
aluminum alters the flower pigment.

All sorts of fruits, leaves and flowers, icluding poppy and tulips, may change 
color when exposed to acids or bases because of the anthocyanins they contain. 
These sorts of plant pH indicators are often used in science classes, 
particularly red or purple cabbage leaves.

Many white cut flowers, such as chrysanthemum, daisy, carnation, and wild 
carrot, can be dyed by placing the cut stem in a dye, such as food coloring, 
and allowing the dye to move up the xylem into the flower petals. White tulips 
could probably be dyed other colors with this technique but usually do not need 
to be dyed because tulips come in a wide color range.

Tulips infected with certain viruses change flower coloration. The infected 
tulips have flowers with uneven color patterns and are known as Rembrandt or 
broken tulips. The Rembrandt tulips sparked the rampant speculation in tulips 
during the 1630s in Holland known as Tulipomania. When the tulip market 
crashed, many were left in financial ruin.


Hydrangea Color Change

MadSci Experiments: Coloring Plant Transpiration

What household substances can be used as acid/base indicators? 

Dyeing cut flowers: (link defunct 8/23/2006)
Replaced with: Dye Summary

Tulip breaking potyvirus 


MadSci FAQs: Anthocyanins

Current Queue | Current Queue for Botany | Botany archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Botany.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2001. All rights reserved.