Though the Netherlands is only a tiny country, it has some of the most well documented flora in the world. You can’t think about sprint, without thinking of fields full of Dutch tulips, watched over by their iconic windmills.
The flowers native to the Netherlands have been well documented by the book Heukels’s flora, which is probably the most important book in existence about Dutch plants.
It is essential to have if you are interested in the plant life in the Netherlands. Do bear in mind, though, that it is free of any photographs, and has no illustrations either.
This is the Dutch flower that you think of when you think of the Netherlands – it might even spring to mind before you think of clogs, canals, and Amsterdam coffee shops.
And this is for good reason – breeding, farming, growing, and selling tulips is a huge business in the Netherlands.
The tulip has always been intertwined with the Dutch culture and economy – even in 1634, there was a period of ‘tulip mania’ or ‘tulip fever’ where bulb prices were high, and ever accelerating.
This period is thought to have been the first recorded speculative economic bubble, or asset bubble, in all of human history.
However, this socio-economic phenomenon did not last forever (though the Dutch’s love of seems to have persisted) – the bubble burst in 1637, triggering an economic downturn.
Nowadays, tulips are grown in large fields in the Noordoostpolder region, in the province of Flevoland. The Netherlands produce around 90 percent of the world’s tulips, and the tulip is their national flower.
The Frogbit Plant
This aquatic plant can be found in ponds, lakes, canals, and other kinds of still or slow moving water across the Netherlands. It is vert=y attractive, and is regularly compared to the water lily, though it is a little smaller in size.
Though through most of the year, it is just a set of leaves resting on or just under the surface of the water (like a lily pad), in July and August it will produce white blooms, which look great against all of the other colors in the water.
In winter, the plant becomes dormant, and next spring’s buds are buried under the mood at the very bottom of the pond. When it grows back, the leaves and blooms provide shelter from the elements from all kinds of pond life – such as small fish, tadpoles, and dragonfly lavae.
They can be identified by their small rosette sets of kidney shaped leaves. In the summer months, these leaves surround little white flowers, with bright yellow centers (sort of reminiscent of a fried egg). The flower petals look thin and crumpled, and may be brown underneath.
The daffodil is a kind of hardy early perennial bulb plant, which is planted in fall, and then sprouts and blooms in late winter to early spring. They, just like the tulip, is a bulb plant that is nearly eponymous with Dutch florals.
The traditional daffodil flowers usually a bright yellow or creamy white, with six petals, surrounding a trumpet-shape central corona, however, dedicated breeders and horticulturalists have bred other interesting varieties of daffodils.
These cultivated varieties (which are known as ‘cultivars) can produce a whole host of different colored and unique looking flowers. Now, leafless stems can bear up to 20 flowers, and each flower can have far more petals than before.
Daffodils are a great option for planting between different shrubs in your garden, or between shrubs. You can even force them to bloom indoors, filling your house with spring color.
The Yellow Flag Iris
This type of iris, known as the yellow flag iris, are native to the Netherlands, and widespread all over much of Europe, northern Asia, the Middle East and northern Africa.
It is bright and yellow-y in color, and tends to cluster in really moist areas, so is often found clustering along the margins of Dutch waterways – like ponds, fens, marches, canals, rivers and wet woods. It is so water loving that it is sometimes even found growing in standing water.
The yellow flag iris (sometimes just called the flag iris) blooms later in spring and summer than a lot of the Dutch flowers – its distinctive sunny yellow flowers can be spotted from May to August, usually beside other reed bed plants.
The blooms of the yellow flag iris were used as the inspiration for the fleur-de-lis symbol, which is used a lot in heraldry, and also by the scouts.
This plant can be identified by its tall reed stems, which are sometimes branched. In addition to this long stem, it produces narrow, sword shaped leaves, which are grey-green in color, and might droop at the ends. It has large, yellow flower petals, which sometimes fold back on themselves.
The Checkered Lily
This plant, which is native to Europe and Western Asia, springs up in spring time, producing dangling bell like purple flowers, which have become a favorite in gardens across the globe. It’s a bulb plant (with the Latin name Fritillaria meleagris), which can grow to a fairly tall 14 to 16 inches (35 to 40 cm).
The distinctive feature of this plant is its flower – which is bell shaped, and droops a little as it is being held up by a slender stem.
The flower’s color and pattern is really unique – it can be reddish brown, purple or white, but has a distinctive checkered pattern (hence the name!) which resembles a chess board. Their distinctive look will light up your borders, containers, rock gardens and naturalized areas.
They will bloom in mid to late spring, and will flower for year after year in the same spot. The checkered lily thrives in full sunshine to partial shade, and in nutrient rich, moist but well drained soil.
If you think your garden soil is not perfect for the checkered lily, then you should enrich it with the addition of upgraded black peat.
The anemone is a beautiful flowering plant, which is in the buttercup family (Ranuncliaceae) of flowers. They are commonly considered wildflowers, and grow abundantly in the Netherlands.
The flowers have four to 27 petal like leaves, and each of the flowers are produced in clustered of two to nine. The flowers are not made up of petals, but rather sepal-like bracts, which are adapted leaves that have taken on the appearance of petals.
The flowers come in a variety of colors, from dark purple, to blue, pink, red and white. Some even have multiple colors on one flowers, or have developed patterns on their petals, like marbling or streaking.
The anemone plant producers flowers throughout the growing season, and can be an early flowering bulb or a late flowering perennial, and can be grown in the borders of your garden, around trees and shrubs, or in containers, depending on the type of anemone plant.
The crocus is an early springtime flowering plant which grows from corms/bulbo tubers. They are low growing plants, which come in a few different colors – they can be white, yellow, orange or purple.
They are a beloved flowering plant through the Netherlands, because their flowers spring up really early, and are often seen in autumn, winter and spring.
In addition to their beautiful flowers, crocuses are grown for a spice that they produce. Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, is obtained from the dried stigma of the Crocus sativus plant, which blooms in autumn.
Crocuses are found naturally growing in woodlands, scrub and meadows, all the way from sea level to the high altitudes of alpine tundra.
The snowdrop is a small flower that is native to the Netherlands (as well as much of the Northern Hemisphere). It is a bulbous perennial that produces flowers in late winter and early spring.
The flowers themselves are a small, dropping white bell, which six petal-like (petaloid) tepals, in two circles/whorls. The petals in the inner circle have green markings, whereas the one in the outer whorl are much longer, and are pure white.
They are one of the most iconic and recognizable flowers of Europe, with most countries laying claim to a few species.
This is likely because they bloom so early in the growing period, so for many, they can be used as a bit of a natural barometer of the change of the seasons, and provide a bit of hope for spring in the long, bleak European winters.
They typically flower before the vernal equinox (which happens on either the 20th or 21st of March in the Northern Hemisphere), through some species do flower in early spring or late in autumn.
The Netherlands have a wide range of native plants and flowers – especially when you consider the small size of the country. Gardens, verges, and public land throughout the Netherlands are filled with a huge variety of perennial and annual color, especially in the springtime.
Many of the plants that are native and beloved to the Dutch are bulb plants – which are planted in winter, and then bloom from late winter to the end of spring.
Given you are in the right region, any of these plants would make a great addition to your garden, in your verges, edges, containers, or under shrubs, trees, and bushes.
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