I don't see it mentioned in that article but there was one thing I found pretty interesting about the tulips.
Earl Thompson, formerly of UCLA, takes a different approach. He reckons that the market for tulips was an efficient response to changing financial regulation—in particular, the anticipated government conversion of futures contracts into options contracts. This ruse was dreamt up by government officials, who themselves were keen to make a quick buck from the tulip trade.
I'd love to be able to dig up more info on that because that seems like a pretty significant point.
You can't just 'convert' a future into an option.
Mania seems like an obvious result, brought on by dutch government officials?