Brief History

History of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease was first described by English physician Dr. James Parkinson in his work entitled An Essay on the Shaking Palsy (1817). In this short essay Parkinson wrote about "Involuntary tremolous motion, with lessened muscular power, in parts not in action and even when supported; with a propensity to bend the trunk forwards, and to pass from a walking to a running pace: the senses and intellect being uninjured."

Four decades later Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot added rigidity to Parkinson's excellent clinical description and attached the name Parkinson's Disease to the syndrome.

Dr James Parkinson

The Parkinson Tulip

The story of the Parkinson Tulip began in 1980 in the Netherlands when J.W.S. Van der Wereld, a Dutch horticulturalist who had Parkinson’s disease, developed a red and white tulip.
In 1981, Van der Wereld named his prized cultivar, the ‘Dr. James Parkinson’ tulip, to honour the man who first described his medical condition and to honour the International Year of the Disabled.

The tulip received the Award of Merit that same year from the Royal Horticultural Society in London England, and also received the Trial Garden Award from the Royal General Bulb Growers of Holland. It is described as a flower: ‘exterior, glowing cardinal red, small feathered white edge, outer base whitish; inside, currant-red to turkey-red, broad feathered white edge, anthers pale yellow’.

On April 11, 2005, the Red Tulip was launched as the Worldwide Symbol of Parkinson's disease at the 9th World Parkinson’s disease Day Conference in Luxembourg.