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Leonieke Aalders / Flickr cc

The New York Times' Joanna Klein explored how broken tulips could soon lead to the extinction of all tulips.

What's a broken tulip?: Flowers infected by a virus that breaks down pigments in the cells of their petals, resulting in intricate, multi-colored patterns such as stripes and flame-like designs.

  • The virus kills tulips by weakening their bulbs and stunting their growth, until they have no strength left to bloom. This causes the tulips to produce fewer bulbs over time, until eventually they cease to exist.
  • Planting broken tulips can spread the virus to other unbroken tulips — or lilies, which are also prone to the virus.
  • The threat of extinction is part of the reason broken tulips are now illegal in the Netherlands, NYT notes, which is renowned for its in annual tulip festival called Keukenhof.

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

7 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.