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What’s the link between tulips and Parkinson’s?

What’s the link between tulips and Parkinson’s?

It’s spring and flowers are bursting into bloom all around – including tulips.

Dr James Parkinson's Tulip

In 2005 the tulip was adopted as the official symbol of Parkinson’s at the 9th World Parkinson’s Disease Day Conference in Luxembourg. However, the flower had been informally associated with the disease for more than 20 years prior to that.

Back in 1980, a Dutch horticulturalist named J.W.S. Van der Wereld – who was living with Parkinson’s – developed a new red and white variant of the tulip.

He named his newly cultivated flower the Dr James Parkinson tulip in honour of the medico who first documented the features of Parkinson’s disease in his 1817 publication An Essay on the Shaking Palsy.

The Dr James Parkinson tulip is officially described as  the “..exterior being a glowing cardinal red, small feathered white edge, the outer base whitish; the inside, a currant-red to a turkey-red, broad feathered white edge, anthers pale yellow.”

Today wearing the red tulip raises awareness and shows support for people living with Parkinson’s and their families globally.