April 26, 2024

Why Are Red Tulips The Symbol For Parkinson’s Disease?

As winter finally comes to an end, the flowers begin to bloom in time for spring – including tulips. Tulips, specifically red tulips, are the symbol for Parkinson’s Disease, but do you know the reason why?

In this blog, we will share the history of the red tulip and how it became the symbol for Parkinson’s Disease.




The origin of the red tulip:

Back in 1980, a Dutch horticulturalist named J.W.S. Van der Wereld created a new red and white variant of the tulip. Whilst living with Parkinson’s Disease himself, he decided to name his newly cultivated flower after Dr James Parkinson in honour of the medico who first documented the features of Parkinson’s Disease in his 1817 publication, “An essay on the Shaking Palsy”.

It wasn’t until 2005 that the red tulip officially became the symbol for Parkinson’s Disease, during the 9th World Parkinson’s Disease Day Conference in Luxembourg. Parkinson’s Europe is one of the charities that has adopted the red tulip as it’s official symbol.

For more information on the history of the red tulip, have a read of this article.




So, why the red tulip?

The colour red is often associated with love, passion and life, so planting a few red tulips yourself is a sign of compassion to those living with Parkinson’s Disease. Additionally, the tulip is a symbol of perfect and deep love, so it’s no wonder that these classic flowers have been loved by so many for centuries. In fact, during 17th century Amsterdam, the tulip bulb was worth more than diamonds!

Have a read of how tulips came to the Netherlands.

As tulips bloom at the beginning of spring, they also have a meaning of rebirth. With those living with Parkinson’s, they may be experiencing major life changes or challenges, so gifting them red tulips or wearing something with the red tulip symbol is the perfect way to show your support to them.

Have a read on tulip symbolism.




How to use the red tulip.

The red tulip you see today was designed by an early-onset Parkinson’s patient named Karen Painter. This stylised tulip has leaves that are shaped like the letter ‘P’ and ‘D’.


This red tulip can be utilised in many ways to show support for your loved ones living with Parkinson's Disease. This can be by engraving a tulip symbol onto a personalised wristband, or by using the colour red on our cord bracelets.

Overall, the red tulip is a sign of compassion for those with Parkinson’s Disease as this disease it often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed as something else. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, or email us at help@butlerandgrace.co

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