a Bizarre

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mia0815, May 1, 2013.

  1. mia0815

    mia0815 Senior Member

    When is a tulip not a tulip?

    When it's a Parrot or a Bizarre. When it's variegated or dwarf. When it comes called Beauty's Reward or Heart's Reviver.

    The PowerBook by Jeanette Winterson

    I learned from a forum member that 'a bizarre' is a variegated plant (usually a tulip or carnation).

    But it doesn't seem to fit in the above context as 'variegated' is mentioned in the following sentence.

    Please help. Thank you.
  2. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    A 'variegated tulip' as distinct from a 'bizarre' could be one with variegated leaves.
  3. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Parrot and Bizarre are names of specific tulips. "Variegated" and "dwarf" are general descriptive terms.

    The text you quote has the form of a children's joke:
    When is a door not a door?
    When it's ajar [= a jar].
    There are a lot of jokes of this form. It is very popular.
  4. mia0815

    mia0815 Senior Member

    This is very helpful!
    It didn't occur to me that Parrot and Bizarre could be names of tulips! I thought they were generic terms.

    Thanks a lot, Cagey.

    Thank you too, velisarius.
  5. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    I think you'll find that "parrot' and 'bizarre' are types of tulip.
  6. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    The clue is that the words are capitalized in the sentence. Knowing nothing about tulips, I could guess that they were names of varieties simply because of the capitalization.
  7. mia0815

    mia0815 Senior Member

    ;) Thanks a lot for the tip!
  8. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    Belatedly, I have found my copy of "The Tulip", by Anna Pavord (Bloomsbury 1999).

    She writes: "The Bybloemen (deep purple markings on a white ground), the Rose (red or pink markings on a white ground) and the Bizarre (red or brownish-black markings on a yellow ground) were the hallowed triumvirate of the English florists' tulips and only flowers that conformed to one of these three types could be shown in competition."

    "The first Parrot tulips, the 'Monstreuses' noted by French and English growers of the seventeenth century, were also natural mutants." In the twentieth century,with a knowledge of genetics, growers began to deliberately breed Parrots. A seventeenth century source describes jagged-petalled (reminiscent of the feathers of a parrot) Parrot tulips as "very strange in fashion and colours from all others." Pavord says that until the twentieth century "all Parrot tulips had been red and yellow Bizarres".

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