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Botanical Name:

Liriodendron tulipifera

Common Name:

Tuliptree,Yellow-poplar,Tulip-poplar,Bois-jaune,Tulip tree,Tulip poplar,Yellow poplar,Canary Whitewood,Canoewood,Lyre Tree,North American Whitewood,Saddle Tree,Western Poplar,Whitewood


The tulip tree is one of the largest of the native trees of the eastern United States, known in an extraordinary case to reach the height of 191.8 feet (58.49 meters) with the next tallest known specimens in the 170-177' range. The trunk on large examples is typically 1–2 m (4–6 ft) in diameter, though it can grow much broader. Its ordinary height is 20 to 40 m (70 to 141 ft). It prefers deep, rich, and rather moist soil; it is common, though not abundant, nor is it solitary. Its roots are fleshy. Growth is fairly rapid, and the typical form of its head is conical.The bark is brown, furrowed, aromatic and bitter. The branchlets are smooth, and lustrous, initially reddish, maturing to dark gray, and finally brown. The wood is light yellow to brown, and the sapwood creamy white; light, soft, brittle, close, straight-grained. Specific gravity: 0.4230; density: 422 g/dm (26.36 lb/cu ft). Winter buds are dark red, covered with a bloom, obtuse; scales becoming conspicuous stipules for the unfolding leaf, and persistent until the leaf is fully grown. Flower-bud enclosed in a two-valved, caducous bract. The alternate leaves are simple, pinnately veined, measuring five to six inches long and wide. They have four lobes, and are heart-shaped or truncate or slightly wedge-shaped at base, entire, and the apex cut across at a shallow angle, making the upper part of the leaf look square; midrib and primary veins prominent. They come out of the bud recurved by the bending down of the petiole near the middle bringing the apex of the folded leaf to the base of the bud, light green, when full grown are bright green, smooth and shining above, paler green beneath, with downy veins. In autumn they turn a clear, bright yellow. Petiole long, slender, angled. Flowers: May. Perfect, solitary, terminal, greenish yellow, borne on stout peduncles, an inch and a half to two inches long, cup-shaped, erect, conspicuous. The bud is enclosed in a sheath of two triangular bracts which fall as the blossom opens. Calyx: Sepals three, imbricate in bud, reflexed or spreading, somewhat veined, early deciduous. Corolla: Cup-shaped, petals six, two inches long, in two rows, imbricate, hypogynous, greenish yellow, marked toward the base with yellow. Somewhat fleshy in texture. Stamens: Indefinite, imbricate in many ranks on the base of the receptacle; filaments thread-like, short; anthers extrorse, long, two-celled, adnate; cells opening longitudinally. Pistils: Indefinite, imbricate on the long slender receptacle. Ovary one-celled; style acuminate, flattened; stigma short, one-sided, recurved; ovules two. Fruit: Narrow light brown cone, formed from many samaras which are dispersed by wind, leaving the axis persistent all winter. September, October.Harriet Louise Keeler provided a description of the tulip tree in Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. GalleryEdit   Liriodendron tulipifera "tulip" flower   Liriodendron tulipifera golden autumn leaves and seed cones   Liriodendron tulipifera, large gray-green flower bud with yellow bract   Liriodendron tulipifera seeds   Liriodendron tulipifera, unfolding leaves   Liriodendron tulipifera leaf   Leaves of cultivar 'Aureomarginatum'   Liriodendron tulipifera columnar trunk in streambank woods, North Carolina   Early spring buds opening   Liriodendron tulipifera leaf with naturally camouflaged, nearly identical-looking imperial moth   Liriodendron tulipifera leaf

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Liriodendron - Tulip Trees




Bloom Time

Spring, Summer, Apr, May, Jun

Plant Type

Trees, Native Plant, Tree


Woody, Perennial

Plant Height

More than 100 ft.


The Yellow Poplar has cup shaped, upright, fragrant yellow flowers with 6 green to yellow petals in 2 rows, reddish-orange bands near the base, and with an orange center that somewhat resembles a tulip. Flowers have numerous stamens and pistils are fused. Flowers have 3 reflexed sepals. Although the flowers are 1.5 to 2 inches in length, they can go unnoticed on large trees because the flowers appear after the leaves are fully developed. Sometimes the flowers are first noticed when the attractive petals begin to fall below the tree. Flowers bloom April-June.


The tree produces and aggregate of fused, cone-like samaras (2 to 3 inches long, 3/4 of a inch wide) which turn brown separate at maturity throughout the winter. Oblong aggregate of samaras. Fruit is available September-October., Green

How to Grow


Average, Medium


Full Sun, Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day), Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours), Sun, Part Shade, Shade


Rich, moist soils.






Small Mammals


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