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Jill Biden accepts tulip named for her by the Netherlands

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tulip lovers have a new variety and it’s named for Jill Biden.

The first lady accepted her “Jill Biden” tulip from Andrew Haspels, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United States, during a ceremony at his official residence on Wednesday. The flower is reddish orange with fringed petals.

“It was a very special ceremony because it doesn’t happen every day,” Haspels told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after the presentation.

The Dutch have named tulips after seven U.S. first ladies, starting in the late 1800s with Frances Folsom Cleveland, the wife of President Grover Cleveland.

Most recently, President George W. Bush’s wife, Laura, accepted her tulip in 2004.

Jill Biden is known to enjoy freshly cut flowers; she has a flower “cutting” garden at the White House.

The Dutch fondness for tulips dates to 1594, when botanist Carolus Clusius planted tulip bulbs in the garden at the University of Leiden, Haspels said. Since then, the Dutch have mastered the art of cultivating and growing many varieties of tulips.

The country also exports more than 450 million tulip bulbs to the U.S. annually, he said.

The tulip presentation ceremony was part of a Dutch Tulip Days celebration at the ambassador’s residence featuring tulips and bicycles, two things his country’s people are known for.

“It was a very wonderful ceremony and we feel very honored that Dr. Jill Biden is happy to have a tulip named after her,” Haspels said.

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