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 Iran and Turkey, comprise many species that together are indigenous to a vast area encompassing parts of Asia, Europe and north Africa. The word tulip, which earlier appeared in English in forms such as tulipa or tulipant, entered the language by way of French tulipe and its obsolete form tulipan or by way of Modern Latin tulīpa, from Ottoman Turkish tülbend ("muslin" or "gauze"), and is ultimately derived from Persian دلبند dulband ("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