Tulips have long sturdy stems with no leaves except at the base. Usually only a few leaves rise from the ground to the head of the tulip or to just below, with maybe a few more outer leaves bent backward toward the ground. The leaves are long and slender like a feather, starting as a point, widening only slightly about a third of the way up and then narrowing again to a tip. They often appear to be a slightly darker green in the center due to the crease in the middle, but generally they are the same spring green color as the stem.
One lone cup-shaped flower stands upright on top of the stem. When closed the flower is a slender oval. As it blooms, the six petals start to open, making the tulip fuller and more of an open cup shape with triangles on top from the tips of the petals. Sometimes as the flower blooms, the tips of the outer petals begin to bend or curl backwards. Eventually, all six petals open completely to reveal a three-pronged, light-colored pistil sticking up in the center with six dark seed-looking stamens surrounding it.
Tulips come in almost every color imaginable, from soft and pale to vibrant or dark, and are usually a darker shade near the base. Some are solid in color, and some have contrasting shades or colors in the same flower. No matter the color, the unmistakable shape of the lone flower on top of a long, sturdy stem makes the tulip easily identifiable, and a field of them is a thing of beauty.