Although tulips are often associated with the Netherlands, commercial cultivation of the flower began in the Ottoman Empire. Tulips, or lale (from Persian لاله, lâleh) as they are also called in IranTurkey,MacedoniaSerbia and Bulgaria comprise many species that together are indigenous to a vast area encompassing parts of AsiaEurope and north Africa.

The word tulip, which earlier appeared in English in forms such as tulipa or tulipant, entered the language by way of Frenchtulipe and its obsolete form tulipan or by way of Modern Latin tulīpa, from Ottoman Turkish tülbend (“muslin” or “gauze“), and is ultimately derived from the Persian: دلبند‎ delband (“Turban“), this name being applied because of a perceived resemblance of the shape of a tulip flower to that of a turban.

In Persia, to give a red tulip was to declare your love. The black center of the red tulip was said to represent the lover’s heart, burned to a coal by love’s passion. To give a yellow tulip was to declare your love hopelessly and utterly.

This picture was shot with a Lensbaby Composer Pro with a Double Glass optic in it and a F2.8 exposure disc, on a Canon 6d, set to “A”, with ISO 100 with 1/500 shutter speed. I’ve edited it in LR4 with nothing more then adding some vignetting and boosting the contrast with 10%. The picture was cropped to center the tulip.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture.